2018 State Legislation Addressing Naloxone

April 05, 2018|10:47 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Over the past few years, several states have expanded access to naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Many of these efforts include allowing prescribers to write naloxone prescriptions for third parties (e.g., friends and family members of those who are at risk of an opioid overdose) and permitting pharmacists to dispense or distribute naloxone without a patient-specific prescription, usually through a standing order, protocol, collaborative practice agreement, prescriptive authority, or direct legislative authority. With naloxone being such an important tool in countering overdose deaths during the current opioid epidemic, ASTHO is tracking state legislative activity impacting access to it. Below is a brief summary of legislation enacted this year that addresses the availability and dispensing of naloxone.

In West Virginia, the governor signed SB 272 giving the state health officer the authority to issue a statewide standing order for the dispensing of an opioid antagonist. The standing order is to specify the approved opioid antagonist formulations and means of administration that may be dispensed, the people to whom the opioid antagonists may be dispensed, any training requirements for those to whom the opioid antagonists may be dispensed, the circumstances under which an opioid antagonist may be distributed or administered, and the timeline for renewing and updating the standing order. The bill also instructs local and state agencies, subject to sufficient funding and resources, to provide opioid antagonist rescue kits to the first responders they employ and require first responders to be trained and carry rescue kits. Another bill signed by West Virginia’s governor, SB 273, clarifies that a pharmacy or pharmacist that sells an opioid antagonist, in addition to those that fill an opioid antagonist prescription, must report certain information to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

New laws in Indiana (SB 13) and Virginia (HB 322) expand the category of who, in accordance with a protocol or standing order and after proper training, can possess and administer an opioid antagonist to include certain correctional, probation, and parole officers. In Florida, a bill (HB 21) was enacted that requires the prescribing of an emergency opioid antagonist whenever a Schedule II controlled substance is prescribed for the treatment of pain related to a traumatic injury with an Injury Severity Score of nine or higher.

In Wyoming, the governor signed a bill (SF 78) creating an opioid addiction task force tasked with considering, among other issues, the “availability and use of naloxone and other prescription drugs to counteract opioid overdoses.” The director of the Wyoming Department of Health, or their designee, is named as a member of the task force. Finally, Tennessee’s governor signed a resolution (HJR 600) urging FDA to make naloxone an over-the-counter drug.