Naloxone is a drug used in overdose interventions. In the last decade, the authorities have tried to open the access of the general population to the medicine, in the hope that the drug will be used to save people that experience overdoses.
In 2015, the access to naloxone was granted by a law that permitted anyone to obtain a prescription for this medicine. After the spike in opioids, health departments all over the US decided to introduce new regulations that allow anyone to buy naloxone with no further questions asked.
For example, in Indiana, a recent order from State Department of Health allowed the introduction of the drug in more than 500 treatment centers and pharmacies.
The state officials declared that they removed the barriers in obtaining naloxone because of the increased number of overdoses related to opioids, no matter if they are connected to legally prescribed medicines or illegal drugs such as heroin.
Until now, only emergency workers had access to naloxone. The 2015 law allowed the access of general population, with the only condition of having a medical prescription from a health professional.
Going even further, the new order permits anyone in a state to obtain the drug, and the medicine is distributed in hundreds of pharmacies. The authorities say they do not want to control who buys it and for what reason, the primary purpose being the drug’s capacity to save lives.
State officials argue that it is better for people and family members to have it in their homes in order to use it in the case of emergency.
A distribution agency would need to provide training on overdose response and instruct people that buy naloxone how to administer the medication. Moreover, an agency would also need to remind its clients to call 911 if they witness or if they experience an overdose.
In the last decade, the price for naloxone had continuously raised. The current price for a dose is almost 40 dollars. However, local medical providers reimburse the Narcan distribution that takes place under the new order.
Even if the distribution had been opened to the general public, people are reluctant to buy Narcan because of the social stigma surrounding drugs and overdoses.
The pharmacies said that almost no one came to ask for the medicine. The reasons may also be that people are uninformed and have misconceptions regarding naloxone and drug overdoses.
Naloxone can be used to save lives, and pharmacists, doctors, and state officials are more than happy to distribute the drug to anyone that would need it. They say that it makes no difference whether the drug is used for an issue involving a legal or an illegal drug.
The non-profit organizations that focus on substance abuse support the new law that permits the free access to a medicine that will undoubtedly save lives. They say that it is crucial to give people a chance to recover, no matter how many overdoses they have to undergo until they take the decision to change their lives.
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