Beginning in February, a medication used to combat painkiller overdoses will be available without a prescription at several pharmacies in South Dakota.

Naloxone — better known as Narcan, a name brand form of the drug — will be available at all Avera pharmacies in Sioux Falls. Hy-Vee will carry the drug at all of its South Dakota pharmacies in Sioux Falls, Brookings, Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton.

The hospital and retailer announced their partnership Monday in an effort to combat opioid-related deaths. Naloxone blocks the effect of opioids on the body and can reverse the effects of an overdose from drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and codeine, and heroin.

Customers can buy a nasal spray form of the drug, as well as an injectable version upon request. Pharmacists with Avera and Hy-Vee will also help patients and family members understand the signs of an opioid overdose and how to administer naloxone during an emergency.

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