Ohio Governor Signs Bill to Make Naloxone Available Without Prescription

Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed emergency legislation that makes the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone available without a prescription. Pharmacies will now be able to offer naloxone over-the-counter to people cleared by a doctor or health officials, The Huffington Post reports.

Kentucky enacted a similar measure in May, the article notes. That law allows first responders or a family member of a person addicted to opioids to receive naloxone without a prescription.

Two years ago, Kasich signed a bill authorizing a pilot program for first responders in one Ohio county to carry naloxone. Last year, he authorized legislation allowing loved ones of people addicted to opioids to administer naloxone without fear of being charged with a crime, the article notes.

Use of naloxone kits resulted in almost 27,000 drug overdose reversals nationwide between 1996 and 2014, according to a government study published last month.

Providing naloxone kits to laypersons reduces overdose deaths, is safe, and is cost-effective, the researchers noted. “U.S. and international health organizations recommend providing naloxone kits to laypersons who might witness an opioid overdose; to patients in substance use treatment programs; to persons leaving prison and jail; and as a component of responsible opioid prescribing,” the researchers wrote in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Although the number of organizations providing naloxone kits to laypersons is increasing, in 2013, 20 states had no such organizations, and nine had less than one layperson per 100,000 population who had received a naloxone kit, the researchers noted.

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