Utah, Lousiana issue standing order for opioid overdose drug
Health officials in both states have issued a standing order for naloxone, the life-saving opioid overdose drug that works as an antidote. The standing order allows participating pharmacists to dispense the antidote drug without a patient-specific prescription to laypeople such as caregivers, family and friends of people who may be at risk for overdose.
Naloxone is a medication that’s designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Food and Drug Administration has approved three forms of the medication: an injectible, an autoinjectable and a prepackaged nasal spray. The latter two are designed for home use in emergency situations and are easy to use in response to a prescription opioid overdose or an overdose of heroin.
"This is an important step in our fight against the opioid epidemic," Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, said. "By making this medication and education widely available, people who overdose can get the antidote quickly and administer it safely. This will save lives."
In Louisiana, the standing order addresses a 12.4 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2014 to 2015. In Utah, the standing order was put in place to address 250 deaths from opioids during 2015, of which 125 were a result of heroin overdose.
“Opioid overdose can be reversed and death prevented by timely administration of naloxone,” Dr. Joseph Miner, executive director of the Utah Department of Health, said. “As authorized by state law, this standing order is intended to increase access to naloxone for those who might be at risk of an overdose or who might be in a position to assist somebody at risk of an overdose.”