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.