"We really want to help people:" Narcan available without a prescription at Roundy's Supermarkets

MILWAUKEE -- Roundy's has joined the growing list of pharmacies now making the medicine naloxone (also known as narcan) available without prescription. However, as narcan becomes more widely available, first reponders want to make sure it does not lead to a false sense of security.

Narcan is easily administered, and is designed to restore breathing for those that have overdosed on opioids. Previously, a prescription was required before purchasing narcan.

"In the last week, since we have had the protocol live, we have dispensed a handful of narcans," Kyle Beyer, clinical care manager with Roundy's said.

Narcan is now sold at all 70 of Roundy's pharmacies in Wisconsin.

"We would like to increase access to this life-saving antidote for our patient population," said Beyer.

Pick ’n Save, Copps and Metro Market pharmacists may provide the opioid reversal medicine to those who might benefit from it the most. These individuals include those at risk of an overdose, as well as a family member or friend who can help an individual at risk of an overdose.

Each naloxone kit contains a two-dose nasal spray with education materials.

Those needing the medication can go to a Pick ’n Save, Copps and/or Metro Market pharmacy to ask for it. They do not need an appointment. Pick ’n Save, Copps and Metro Market pharmacists will provide screening and training before a customer gets a naloxone kit.

"You want to make sure they understand this is a short-term solution and that recovery is really the ultimate goal," said Beyer.

That's the message from those at North Shore Fire Rescue.

"It shouldn't be the only thing people rely on, and it shouldn't make people feel comfortable and confident to use a drug that potentially can kill them," said Lt. Dan Tyk with North Shore Fire Rescue.

First responders warn narcan can only reverse an overdose within a certain time frame -- and say it should not replace going to the hospital.

"We really want to help people and we want to help keep people alive, but we also don't want to give a false sense of security," said Tyk.

Roundy's will typically dispense one narcan per customer per visit.