An overdose-reversing medication has become an important tool in preventing opioid deaths. But it’s not as available in Albuquerque as it is in other parts of the state, according to a team of students at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, who released their findings earlier this month.
Stacy Haponyuk and her colleagues called every pharmacy in New Mexico over the summer to ask if they had naloxone on their shelves.
“Some people often cannot wait for these naloxone prescriptions,” Haponyuk said. “And sometimes if a person can’t pick up their prescription on Friday, for example, and Saturday, Sunday they can’t get to the pharmacy, then that could increase the risk for overdose.”
Of the nearly 100 Albuquerque pharmacies the team called, 72 percent had naloxone available same-day. That’s the worst rate of any city in the state, according to the team’s research. The norm outside Albuquerque? At least 90 percent of pharmacies have it in stock and ready to go.
Haponyuk said rural pharmacies know they might be the only place for folks to get the medication, so they keep a lot of it in stock.
A law that requires doctors to co-prescribe naloxone alongside large opioid prescriptions went into effect in July. Haponyuk said she hopes that will boost naloxone availability everywhere.
Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.