More than 500 pharmacies and treatment centers across the state can now distribute naloxone without a prescription under a new standing order from the Indiana state department of health.
The barriers to obtaining the overdose intervention drug have been falling throughout the last decade as the number of drug overdoses related to heroin and other opioids has increased statewide.
In the past, only emergency workers were allowed to carry naloxone, which is also known by the brand name Narcan. A 2015 law allowed anyone to obtain a prescription for the drug, but they still needed to get it from a doctor or health professional.
Now, the new law allows an agency such as a pharmacy, treatment center or nonprofit, to register with the state to obtain the drug without a prescription and distribute it to anyone who asks.
The large majority of distribution hubs are CVS pharmacies, which now can sell a customer naloxone more than 100 locations across the state.
State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Walthall says she expects people to keep it on hand in a “just in case” capacity.
“Now, witnesses, family members, loved ones can not only dispense naloxone in the case of an overdose, but can have access to it almost as if it were an over-the-counter medication,” she says.
State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Walthall says she sees people stocking naloxone as an anticipatory, preventative measure. She compares buying it to wearing a seatbelt.
“They’re not the prevention that keeps people from getting in a car accident--that’s ‘don’t text and drive’, right?” she says. “But once you’re in a car accident, your injuries are minimized.”
In order to register for a standing order of naloxone, distributing agencies need to provide training about overdose response and administering naloxone, as well as instruct those buying it to call 911 in the case someone O-Ds.
Naloxone has skyrocketed in price in the past decade, now costing anywhere from $30-$40 per dose. Indiana Medicaid does reimburse for Narcan distributed using the standing order.