Food Service & Agriculture, Health Care, and Retail

Grocer extends opioid safety initiative

May 4, 2017
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SpartanNash Family Fare pharmacy pharmacist
A pharmacist prepares an opioid overdose reversal kit at a Family Fare. Courtesy SpartanNash

A local grocer has extended its opioid safety initiative to an additional 61 pharmacies across the state.

Byron Center-based SpartanNash expanded its Opioid Safety Project to include all of the pharmacies at its Michigan D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare Supermarkets, Forest Hills Foods and VG’s locations.

Since November, the program has been available in the greater Grand Rapids and lakeshore areas.

Opioid Safety Project

Launched last April, the Opioid Safety Project is an initiative geared toward reducing prescription drug overdoses, by providing patients with educational materials and an emergency kit to be used in the case of an overdose.

Via the program, when customers are filling an opioid prescription at SpartanNash stores, they are counseled by the pharmacist on safe use and how to properly identify and prevent an overdose. An overdose reversal kit — which includes naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, a face shield for rescue breathing and a directional pamphlet — is also available.

“Our Opioid Safety Project places a special emphasis on education,” said Eddie Garcia, pharmacy merchandising director, SpartanNash. “Before our store guests take their prescriptions home with them, our pharmacists spend time with them and their caregivers to ensure they understand how to properly take their medications and when naloxone would be needed.

“We never want our store guests to have to use the naloxone, but we want them to be informed on how to properly administer it in the case of an emergency.”

Offered in conjunction with the Grand Rapids-based addiction treatment center The Dettmann Center, which authorizes the distribution of safety kits and naloxone to SpartanNash customers, the program was originally offered at three West Michigan pharmacies, before expanding to more stores in the region. Pharmacists distributed 85 overdose reversal kits last year.

To expand the program statewide, pharmacists completed an online training program and attended live training sessions led by SpartanNash’s clinical care team.

“By providing store guests and their caregivers with the necessary tools and knowledge to avoid a prescription opioid overdose, we hope to reduce the number of overdoses, as well as get the lifesaving medication in their hands in case of emergency,” Garcia said.

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