Virginia Eases Naloxone Laws

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A new law that was designed to make it easier for Virginians to get naloxone is already seeing results: Pharmacists are beginning to undergo training.

The law, which went into effect on July 1, allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone under more relaxed laws. How exactly are the rules more lenient? A pharmacist working with a physician or other legal prescriber can collaborate on what's known as a "standing order." This basically gives the pharmacists the okay to dispense naloxone without the patient having to see the doctor first. This arrangement is similar to the way people are able to get flu shots are drugstores without needing a prescription from a doctor. Another part of the law protects those who overdose by allowing friends and family members to pick the drug up from the pharmacy.

The Virginia Pharmacists Association is now offering its members training on the new law, said pharmacist Tim Musselman, the association’s executive director, in an interview with Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Training for those administering naloxone is a must. For example, the drug does not come ready to squit up the nose. A rescuer needs to understand how to attach an atomizer to the tip of a pre-filled naloxone syringe.

To get ahead of the game, Virginia last year began a project called Revive! The purpose of the program -- train the average person to use naloxone on someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose.

Jason Lowe, Revive! program manager at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the program trained 536 people as lay-rescuers and an additional 448 as trainers.

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The law, which went into effect on July 1, allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone under more relaxed laws.
In Virginia in 2013, there were twice as many overdose deaths from the prescription narcotics fentanyl, hydrocodone, methadone or oxycodone -- 386 deaths total -- as there were from heroin, with 174 deaths.
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