A Prescription for the Opioid Epidemic?

DUNMORE -- A pharmacist in Lackawanna County is taking a unique approach to fighting the opioid epidemic by trying to get an overdose antidote into the hands of as many people as possible.

Tom DePietro, who owns DePietro's pharmacy in Dunmore, thinks sometimes you have to have uncomfortable conversations to solve a problem.  One of the biggest problems he sees is the opioid and heroin epidemic.

"There are so many other health care providers that can participate in this battle, if they just talk to their patients," DePietro said.

He's started having those tough conversations with customers. Anyone who comes here to fill an opioid prescription receives information about an antidote for an opioid overdose. it's called Naloxone or "Narcan".

"There's a stigma associated with walking in to a pharmacy and asking for Naloxone. And secondly, I think it`s challenging for pharmacists to proactively offer it to their patients because they`re concerned that their patients are going to be offended by the offering, but it`s really just an education piece," DePietro added.

There's a standing order for Narcan in Pennsylvania, meaning you don't need a prescription to get it.

DePietro told Newswatch 16 that most people don't know that Narcan, in either an injection or nasal spray, is covered by most insurances. He's started teaching customers how to use it, and they've been receptive.

Depietro admits that he was afraid he would lose customers over the change in policy.  But, that hasn't happened.

"What they're doing I think is really good, because it might not pertain to that person, but they might know someone that they might be able to help," said customer Heidi Wilcox of Scranton.

Wilcox thinks making Narcan more accessible is a start to solving the greater problem.

8 comments

  • Archie Beal

    Why enable these clowns. They all need to overdose and die. Who cares? I certainly don’t. More air for me to breath

    • Let me get this straight...

      Die all druggies, they deserve it!!!
      Take all guns away, innocent people don’t deserve self protection!!!
      Take away protection from unlawful seizer! Government deserves your stuff!

      You are an idiot to the max

  • Frank C.

    Looks like capitalizing on the problem. How about handing out or posting flyers for treatment centers with business cards people can anonymously take? There is a theory that people will be more likely to take higher doses if they have this on hand. I am in no way an expert, this is only my opinion.

    • Tyler Watkins

      But how will the pharmacist vet the treatment centers? There are really shady treatment centers. Thats more of a job for a PCP, or an EAP.

  • MMMM

    Why are “we” wasting resources on these losers that are commiting suicide? No sympathy from me! Let them die! One MORON in my city was found face down in the creek. Then being combative with people trying to help him. Should have left him there! I am sick and tired of keeping these IDIOTS alive!

Comments are closed.