Harm Reduction Groups Want to Purchase Naloxone Over-the-Counter

    Harm reduction groups are calling on the Biden administration to make the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone available to them over-the-counter, NPR reports. Currently, naloxone is a prescription drug. These groups must meet a series of requirements to purchase naloxone from drug companies.

    Giving naloxone over-the-counter status will make it easier to order and distribute it to people at the greatest risk of overdosing, the groups say.

    While naloxone is considered a prescription drug by the Food and Drug Administration, every state allows individuals to purchase it at a pharmacy without a prescription. States work around the prescription designation in creative ways. For example, some states have a health official write one prescription for every resident.

    Harm reduction groups and other organizations cannot use these workarounds, the article notes. They must have a doctor sign for the order, and the doctor cannot sign for another group. The organization must have a medical or pharmacy license and must be able to comply with regulations for storing and dispensing naloxone. They cannot have an address that is a private home to receive shipments.

    These requirements can be burdensome for smaller harm reduction groups, which often are led by volunteers and operate out of people’s homes or cars.


    December 2021