LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ralphs Grocery Company has joined in the effort to help the communities its stores serve combat the opioid epidemic.
Ralphs currently stocks naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversing drug, in its 79 in-store pharmacies in Southern California. All Ralphs Pharmacies dispense naloxone without the need for a prescription – making it easier for families, friends, caregivers and those at-risk individuals to have the drug on hand if needed to save a life.
The U.S. Surgeon General recently urged more Americans to carry the lifesaving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
"Naloxone is an effective antidote to opioid overdoses. By providing access to this medication in our pharmacies without a prescription, we can help save lives," said Linh Lee, Pharm.D. for Ralphs. "We have empowered our pharmacists to put this overdose rescue medication in the hands of those who are able to help an opioid overdose victim."
All Ralphs pharmacists providing naloxone are required to take a one-hour training session to learn how to educate individuals who might use the medicine and screen patients for sensitivity to the antidote.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 2.1 million people in the U.S. struggle with an opioid-use disorder and rates of opioid deaths are rapidly increasing.
Naloxone, which can be administered as a nasal spray or an injection, helps a person suffering an opioid overdose wake up and continue breathing. The drug must be administered while also calling 911 for medical assistance.
In addition to offering naloxone in its pharmacies without a prescription, Ralphs is hosting a drug take-back event at Leisure World in Seal Beach on April 28, in partnership with the Seal Beach Police Department and coinciding with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
"Ralphs is committed to being part of the solution to the problem of epidemic opioid and prescription drug abuse," said Dr. Lee. "Our efforts to prevent medication abuse, including providing naloxone, are designed to help the communities we serve become healthier and safer for everyone."
Providing prescription-free naloxone is just one of many services Ralphs Pharmacies offer customers. Other services include adult and adolescent immunizations for Hepatitis A and B, tetanus, meningitis, cervical cancer, pneumonia, shingles (herpes zoster) and flu; customized medication reviews; prescription-free hormonal contraceptives; smoking cessation; and cholesterol screenings. Free blood pressure readings are also available.
About Ralphs Ralphs Grocery Company is dedicated to our purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit ™. We are more than 22,000 associates serving customers in 191 supermarkets across Southern California. From the company's headquarters in Los Angeles County, Ralphs is a recognized leader in community service and giving. Last year, the company contributed more than $6 million to support education, hunger relief, women's health and local nonprofit organizations in the communities served by the company's stores. Ralphs is a subsidiary of The Kroger Co., (NYSE:KR), one of the world's largest retailers, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more about Ralphs, please visit our website at www.ralphs.com.