Important resources to help you navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Wisconsin
Hub for reliable, timely news about COVID-19 pandemic

“Sole purpose is to save lives:” Narcan, which can reverse effects of overdose, to be available at CVS

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

MILWAUKEE -- It is a medication that can reverse the effects of certain drug overdoses, and save lives. Soon, you'll be able to purchase it at CVS Pharmacy without a prescription.

"Its sole purpose is to save lives," Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said.



Naloxone, sometimes referred to by the brand name Narcan is a medication that can reverse the life-threatening effects of an opiate overdose -- whether the source is heroin or a pain medication.

Soon, you'll be able to purchase Narcan without a prescription at CVS Pharmacy locations in Wisconsin.

"I support making it available. The challenge is that right now it's not legal to do that because it is necessary to have a prescription for it," Schimel said.

CVS Pharmacy

CVS Pharmacy

However, Schimel says he's not looking to pursue CVS Pharmacy to make the medication available prescription free.

"With all the different things that require a prescription, this probably isn't one of the things that should," Schimel said.

FOX6 News spoke with Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), who has quarterbacked several legislative efforts to combat heroin and opiate addiction.

"Putting it in the hands of everyday citizens as CVS is suggesting I think will go a long way towards preventing unnecessary loss of life in our state," Rep. Nygren said.

Those looking to purchase the medication without a prescription should note that they might not get it right away. A CVS Pharmacy spokesman says CVS would order it for the customer, who should get it by the next day.

John Nygren

John Nygren

In spite of that, Rep. Nygren says it will still be valuable to allow family and friends of opiate users to stock up on the medication.

"You end up carrying Narcan with you just in case," Rep. Nygren said.

As for the question about the legality of selling the medication to those without a prescription, Rep. Nygren says he believes that stems from the federal level, and that he plans to delve further into whether the state could do something to change the requirement.


  • Opinion8d

    I’m still not sure what this means. It sounds like it’s illegal to purchase without a prescription, but then there is something about going to CVS and having to wait a day but you can get it??? Personally, I’m fine without anyone having it. The only reason to have it is due to illegal drug activity that is self inflicted. And what liability then exists??? The person who overdosed can’t administer it -it’s not like an inhaler. Shouldn’t this be something that is medically regulated -as it is currently???

  • Michael Neals

    This is only going to encourage people to use H. They will just have Narcan with them in case something “bad” happens. Why does USA cater to these people? Just another item to be shoplifted or stolen in masse from the pharmacy. You use you lose.

  • Scott

    Am I reading this right? It sounds like CVS is going to sell a prescription drug over the counter and our AG will look the other way. How does that work? What happens if a cop finds Narcon in my car? Am I in violation of the law?

  • Reasonless

    This is insane!
    Kids are exposed to peer pressure every day.
    The only thing keeping many kids from trying heroin is the fear of death.
    Now, knowing that your friend that’s trying to get you to try heroin has Narcan on hand just in case something goes wrong; why not give it a try?
    This foolish move may save a small number of lives but will create a whole new generation of addicts.
    I hope and pray that this doesn’t go thru.

  • The D Man

    A little more reporting would have cleared this all up. The state allows pharmacies to enter into standing order agreements with prescribers for this medication, which allows patients to receive this medication without having an individual prescription for it. The standing order is basically a “blanket prescription” and the same concept is used by pharmacies to provide flu shots to patients without a prescription.

  • Anna Mouse

    Narcan is used to reverse a drug overdose. It is not for the person using to use on themselves. But it gives their loved one and themselves one more day to fight the terrible disease they are suffering from. Access to treatment to treat this CHRONIC DISEASE is what people who are addicted need. Narcan gives them the chance. All lives are worth a second chance.

    • Sama Jones

      To Anna Mouse. How many chances does your comment “a second chance” mean? I have saved repeated overdosed offenders to the tune of millions of dollars, just to have them leave Against Medical Advice. Only to do it all over again. These people will not even plan ahead for cold and flu season. Do you really think people will prepare for an overdose situation?

  • Sama Jones

    TO Opinion 8. This means that instead of spending thousand upon thousand of dollars to save a repeat heroin overdoser, who just wakes up and calls the emergency room staff a bunch of profane names, rips out all of the life saving equipment and runs out the door AGAINST MEDICAL ADVISE, we can now do this for less than a hundred dollars. This will be a really money saving adventure that can help to save the medical system of America. It is unfortunate that the good citizens of America are being punished with outrageous healthcare cost from the citizens that abuse the medical system and do not pay for their healthcare. This availability of Narcan will help to return America to the hardworking, proud and law abiding American citizens. More needs to be done to give America back to the people who want to be American and quit giving it away to the A_ _holes that waste it.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.