California orders opioid overdose antidote naloxone available without prescription

San Francisco Chronicle – The California Department of Public Health on Thursday issued a statewide standing order for naloxone, the emergency antidote that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The order, issued by agency Director Dr. Karen Smith, functions as a standing prescription that enables all California organizations that work to reduce or manage drug addiction — such as sober living facilities, needle exchange programs and residential treatment centers — to distribute naloxone to patients and members of the community. The facilities would no longer have to get a prescription from an individual doctor.

Naloxone, often sold under the brand name Narcan, is administered by injection or nasal mist. Public health officials have pushed in recent years to make the medication more accessible. State regulations that took effect in 2015 authorized California pharmacists to make naloxone available without a prescription, but not all pharmacies carry it. And many nonprofit groups that work in the drug addiction field already distribute naloxone under a standing order from a local physician.

Read more at San Francisco Chronicle.