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Overdose antidote now available over the counter in Minnesota

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A drug that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose is now available without a doctor's prescription in Minnesota.

CVS pharmacies became the first in the state to sell naloxone over the counter, KARE 11 reports.

Naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan, is carried by many first responders in Minnesota, who began using it last year as an antidote to overdoses of opioid narcotics including heroin.

The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation lobbied the Legislature to pass "Steve's Law" in 2014 and its founder is hailing CVS' move to make it available without a prescription in 12 states.

Lexi Reed Holtum started the foundation and named it after her fiancé, who died of a heroin overdose in 2011, KARE reports.

Holtum says naloxone has no potential for abuse and CVS Vice President Tom Davis agrees, telling MPR News it's a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and increasing access to it can save lives.

MPR says Sterling, a chain of drug stores in southern Minnesota and Iowa, plans to join CVS in selling naloxone without a prescription by the end of the year.

Sterling's community pharmacist, Jessica Astrup Ehret told the network: "I believe that we can help people and they can find recovery, but they need access to the resources and they need a second chance. If they do overdose, naloxone can be that second chance for them."

With 60 locations around Minnesota, CVS is one of the state's biggest pharmacies. It's website includes answers to frequently asked questions about naloxone, which is sold as a solution to be injected.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says overdoses of opioids have soared in recent years, with many of them involving painkillers or other prescription medication.

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