Prescriptions Not Needed for Opioid Reversal Medication | New

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce overdose deaths, the Mississippi State Department of Health has extended and expanded the statewide standing naloxone order that allows pharmacists to dispense the opioid reversal medication without a prescription from doctors or other physicians.

Overdoses are now the leading cause of death among American adults ages 18 to 45, reports MSDH.

Naloxone blocks opioid receptors in the brain and restores normal breathing in people who have overdosed on fentanyl, heroin, or prescription opioid painkillers. The temporary blocking effect of naloxone allows time to seek professional medical attention.

“Since this order was originally issued in 2018, many lives have been saved in Mississippi communities due to the increased availability of naloxone,” said Jan Dawson, program director of the Mississippi Public Health Institute. “We commend our partners at the Mississippi State Department of Health for extending the order and expanding it to include products not previously covered by the standing order, and for removing the barriers to obtaining this life-saving medicine.”

Signed by state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, the standing order states that pharmacists are authorized “to dispense an opioid antagonist (naloxone) to a person at risk of an opioid-related overdose or a limb family, friend or other person in a position to assist a person at risk.

And according to Mississippi’s Medical Emergency Good Samaritan Act, one cannot be prosecuted for calling 911 for an overdose, even if he is in possession of a drug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 106,000 people died in the United States from drug overdoses in the 12 months ending November 2021, with opioid-related deaths accounting for 75% of all overdose deaths.

A report by the Mississippi Opioid and Heroin Data Collaborative showed that drug overdose deaths in Mississippi rose 49% year over year, from 2019 to 2020. Make Mississippi OD Free is a program administered by the Mississippi Department of Health in partnership with the Mississippi Public Health Institute and is supported by a CDC-funded federal grant initiative.

The goal of the program, called Overdose to Action (OD2A), is to collect comprehensive and timely data on non-fatal and fatal overdoses to inform OD prevention and response efforts nationwide. The data for the initiative is provided by the

Mississippi Opioid and Heroin Data Collaborative, a multi-agency partnership between the Mississippi State Department of Health, Mississippi Department of Mental Health, Mississippi Board of Pharmacy Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, and Mississippi Department of Public Safety Bureau of Narcotics.

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