Mariano's joins suburban pharmacies selling naloxone
Mariano's pharmacies are the latest suburban drugstores to start selling naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, without a prescription.
The drug is already sold over the counter -- or will be in coming weeks -- at pharmacies including the Walgreens, Meijer, Jewel-Osco and CVS chains.
A two-pack of the naloxone nasal spray, which includes educational materials, went on sale Friday at Mariano's for $145. Insurance companies often cover part of the cost.
The spray, also known by the brand name Narcan, helps someone who has overdosed on an opioid, such as heroin or OxyContin, resume breathing and regain consciousness.
It's the latest effort in the suburbs to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic, which is killing hundreds of people statewide each year.
Illinois had 1,705 overdose deaths in 2014 -- an almost 8 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six out of every 10 overdose deaths involved an opioid, CDC data show.
Narcan has saved hundreds of lives, including more than 100 so far this year in DuPage County, health department Executive Director Karen Ayala said.
Mariano's officials said in a statement that all of its Illinois pharmacists have completed a required Illinois Pharmacists Association training course on standardized procedures for dispensing naloxone.
Live4Lali, an Arlington Heights-based organization, played a key role in making the lifesaving naloxone more widely available by lobbying for passage of state and federal laws. Suburban police and firefighters have carried and used the drug, but now it's being made directly available.