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Naloxone Law Allows Public To Treat Opioid Overdose

Expanding Access To Naloxone In The United States

Drug overdose deaths have increased steadily in the United States (U.S.) since 1979. During the past  three  decades, drug  overdose  deaths  have  tripled.1•2 Of the 38,329 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2010, 22,134 (60%) were related to pharmaceuticals, with 75% of those deaths involving prescription opioid analgesics,3 Concomitantly, heroin  deaths have risen  by  55%  between  2000 and 2010.4 Deaths from use of fentanyl-laced or acetyl fentanyl­ laced heroin were reported in multiple states in 2013.s-7 In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control characterized opioid overdose deaths as an epidemic.8 Most of these deaths are preventable.

Most naloxone administered by laypersons is prescribed and distributed as part of “overdose education and naloxone distribution” or “bystander naloxone training” programs. The word bystander is used to identify the family member, friend, or stranger who is in close proximity to the victim at the time of the overdose and specifically not a trained health care provider.  Doyan – naloxone position paper highlighted

Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the launch of Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States, a new program to help states end the prescription drug overdose epidemic. The Prevention for States program plans to give 16 states annual awards between $750,000 and $1 million over the next four years to advance prevention on multiple fronts.

For more information about the program visit Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States

HHS Launches Multi-pronged Effort to Combat Opioid Abuse

Combating opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose is a priority for Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell and the Obama Administration at large. The Secretary’s evidence-based opioid initiative focuses on three targeted areas: informing opioid prescribing practices, increasing the use of naloxone (a drug that reverses the deadly respiratory effects of opioid drug overdose), and expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid use disorder.  Read more

State Laws

Kentucky’s New Heroin Law Marks a ‘Culture Shift’

On March 25, 2015, Kentucky lawmakers passed wide-ranging legislation to combat the state’s heroin epidemic. The bipartisan measure represents a significant policy shift away from more punitive measures toward a focus on treating addicts, not jailing them.

The state will now allow local health departments to set up needle exchanges and increase the number of people who can carry naloxone, the drug that paramedics use to save a person suffering an opioid overdose. Addicts who survive an overdose will no longer be charged with a crime after being revived. Instead, they will be connected to treatment services and community mental health workers.

  • SB 192 passed and was signed into law by Governor Beshear during the 2015 Legislative Session. This bill was signed into law as an emergency bill; therefore, this became law on March 25, 2015.
  • This bill allows a pharmacist to dispense naloxone pursuant to a physician-approved protocol. The Board, in consultation with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, shall promulgate administrative regulations to establish certification, educational, operational, and protocol requirements. SB 192
  • Read more


The 2015 legislation proposed by Governor Malloy’s office allows pharmacists to prescribe and dispense naloxone Allows pharmacists to prescribe and dispense naloxone (narcan) if they receive special training and certification to do so (in effect now). Read more

Rhode Island’s Opioid Epidemic Response Features Collaborative Practice Model

The response to Rhode Island’s crisis of opioid-related overdose deaths includes a collaborative practice model through which a single physician authorizes the dispensing of naloxone kits at multiple pharmacies to anyone who may encounter an overdose victim. Read more

Harm Reduction Coalition

Take-home naloxone programs have been established in approximately 200 communities throughout the United States. These vital programs expand naloxone access to drug users and their loved ones by providing comprehensive training on overdose prevention, recognition, and response (including calling 911 and rescue breathing) in addition to prescribing and dispensing naloxone.

The following case studies illustrate a variety of models for incorporating overdose prevention and survival programs, including naloxone distribution, into community programs. Read more



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