Virginia Activist Told Not to Distribute Narcan to Those Who Take Her Training

Rules only permit police, pharmacies to distribute overdose antidote

Beginning Friday, it's easier for Virginia and Maryland residents to get the life-saving medication Narcan, which can reverse the deadly effects of an overdose from heroin or other opiates, but a leading activist says there's also been a setback because she's been told can no longer dispense Narcan.

Since summer 2015, when Narcan became available without a prescription, Ginny Atwood has trained hundreds of worried parents, health care workers and drug abusers in how to use the life-saving antidote. But she can no longer provide Narcan to those who take her class.

The Virginia Board of Pharmacy told her to stop, saying legislation only permits pharmacists and law enforcement to distribute Narcan.

Atwood lost her brother to an overdose and started the Chris Atwood Foundation, which raised the funds to pay for and provide Narcan free to those in her classes who couldn't afford it or couldn't make it to a pharmacy.

"This is a life-saving medication, and when people need a life-saving medication, they need it now, not two weeks from now," she said.

Atwood is appealing to the Attorney General's Office to see if the rules could be reinterpreted or altered.

In the meantime, getting Narcan from CVS stores just got easier. Virginia and Maryland joined 21 other states where CVS provides Narcan without a prescription. It is still kept behind the counter.

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