Prescription drug overdose has reached epidemic proportions. Public health professionals are seeking new ways to make naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, more available. Because opioid prescription medications are often the cause of overdose, pharmacy practice is a logical avenue for increased naloxone access. On October 20, 2014, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy recognized the need “to support programs that involve an active role for pharmacists in expanding access to the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone. Some jurisdictions have already created new programs with pharmacies, increasing access to the overdose antidote without the traditional requirements of a physician consult and prescription.
This brief explores the legal mechanisms for improved pharmacy distribution of the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone, and aims to help public health professionals, prescribers, pharmacy managers, and local, and territorial health departments understand key legal issues