(HealthDay)—Health officials in Utah and Louisiana have issued orders to make naloxone more widely available in an effort to prevent overdose deaths, according to a report from the American Medical Association.
The state health officials issued a standing order for naloxone, which increases access to the opioid overdose antidote, and allows participating pharmacists to dispense the drug to laypeople including caregivers, family, and friends of persons at risk of overdose, without a patient-specific prescription.
The standing order addresses a 12.4 percent increase in overdose deaths in Louisiana from 2014 to 2015. In Utah, more than 250 people died from a prescription opioid overdose in 2015 and more than 125 died of a heroin overdose.
"This is an important step in our fight against the opioid epidemic," said Rebekah Gee, M.D., M.P.H., secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, according to the article. "By making this medication and education widely available, people who overdose can get the antidote quickly and administer it safely. This will save lives."
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