Law Easing Access to Naloxone Goes Into Effect

Access to naloxone (Narcan), a drug that prevents heroin overdoses, got a bit easier this week when a law allowing for standing order prescriptions of the drug went into effect on October 1. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

Under a Maryland law that takes effect Thursday, doctors at local health departments around the state can write a blanket prescription that covers anyone who is trained on how to administer the drug, also known as Narcan. They simply need to present a card at the pharmacy showing they had been taught by a state-certified trainer.

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen lauded the law Wednesday as a way to more widely distribute the lifesaving drug and curb the number of overdose deaths. Last year, 303 people in Baltimore died from overdoses, and most had taken opioids. Statewide, 578 deaths were attributed to heroin last year, compared with 464 the previous year.

“Until now policy has tied our hands,” Wen said. “People should not have to go to a doctor and justify why they need the ability to save a loved one or a friend. Nobody has to go to a doctor to explain why they need to use a defibrillator if somebody’s heart has stopped beating and they need to save them in that moment. So why should we treat overdose any differently from something else that is killing our citizens?”

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun