CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Wednesday, the doors opened for everyone in our community to have access to over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Nonprofit NC Med Assist cut the ribbon to its free pharmacy in uptown. It's the first of its kind in Charlotte: A free pharmacy full of OTC essentials to relieve headaches and pain and treat cold and flu symptoms.

Sadly, the numbers show thousands in our community have little to no access to medication.

"In Mecklenburg County, we have over 67,000 individuals who are very low income. And they’re going to struggle with going into a regular retail store and buying Tylenol or Advil that will treat a fever for their children at home. So when they have no other resource they end up in the emergency room," said NC Med Assist CEO Lori Giane.

The hope is that this pharmacy will prevent many emergency room visits and missed days of work, saving taxpayers money as a bonus.

"When someone with Medicaid who has the access to the Tylenol and doesn’t have to take their child into the ER, that is taxpayer dollars that we are saving," Giane said.

The pharmacy will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You need a picture ID, and you may get up to five items on a monthly basis.

Another great feature, people who are uninsured can meet with a social worker to discuss getting into a program that provides free life-saving prescription medication to those who can’t afford it.

The address is 4428 Taggart Creek Road, Suite 101, Charlotte, NC 28208.