Retail pharmacies in NJ are permitted to dispense naloxone without a prescription. However, not all pharmacies have participated in this effort, and it is not clear what factors may impact its availability. We sought to determine the naloxone availability of select NJ cities and what sociodemographic factors are associated with its availability. We compared naloxone availability in retail pharmacies to median household income, population, and the prevalence of opioid-related hospital visits (ORHV).
All retail pharmacies in ten New Jersey cities were surveyed by phone in February–July 2017. The standardized survey instrument asked scripted questions to each pharmacist concerning the stocking of naloxone for dispensing. Median household income data and population data for each city were obtained from census.gov. Opioid-related hospital visits were obtained through the NJ SHAD database and the prevalence of ORHV was calculated. Naloxone availability was compared to median household income, population, and ORHV using Spearman’s rho and Pearson’s correlation.
Naloxone availability in the 90 retail pharmacies we surveyed was 31% and ranged from 15.38 to 66.67% by city. An increase in median household income indicated more pharmacy naloxone availability. An increase in population indicated less pharmacy naloxone availability. While no significant relationship existed between ORHV and pharmacy naloxone availability, we did identify individual cities with severe opioid-related public health concerns with limited naloxone access.
Naloxone deserts exist in select high-risk New Jersey cities, and pharmacy naloxone availability may be positively related to median household income and negatively related to population.
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Lozo, K.W., Nelson, L.S., Ramdin, C. et al. Naloxone Deserts in NJ Cities: Sociodemographic Factors Which May Impact Retail Pharmacy Naloxone Availability. J. Med. Toxicol. 15, 108–111 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181-019-00700-7
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