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Increasing Access to Naloxone: Help Save Lives from Opioid Overdose

Naloxone Access Laws, Physician Coprescribing on the Rise

In the 2nd quarter of 2015, 4,291 prescriptions were dispensed, a 1,170% increase over prescriptions in the 4th quarter of 2013.8 AMA advocacy and widespread state medical society support has led to more than 2 dozen new state laws that increase access to naloxone—bringing the national total to more than 45 states with naloxone access laws.

8. Am J Public Health. 2016 Apr;106(4):689-90. Jones et al. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303062. Epub 2016 Feb 18.

Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can be administered to someone experiencing an opioid overdose. It works by blocking the opioid's effects, helps restore breathing and prevents death.

Does Your State Have Key Laws to Save Lives From Overdose?

More than half of states have enacted a naloxone access law or an overdose good Samaritan law, but more work remains.

The Task Force urges every state to thoroughly review its laws and ensure it has the policies that encourage:

  1. Widespread access to naloxone
  2. Broad good Samaritan protections that defend individuals who provide assistance to someone experiencing an overdose from arrest, prosecution or other civil or criminal repercussions
States With Naloxone Access Laws States With Overdose Good Samaritan Laws
Alabama Alabama
Arkansas Alaska
California Arkansas
Colorado California
Connecticut Colorado
Delaware Connecticut
Florida Delaware
Georgia Florida
Idaho Georgia
Illinois Hawaii
Indiana Illinois
Kentucky Kentucky
Louisiana Louisiana
Maine Maryland
Maryland Massachusetts
Massachusetts Minnesota
Michigan Mississippi
Minnesota Nevada
Mississippi New Hampshire
Nebraska New Jersey
Nevada New Mexico
New Hampshire New York
New Jersey North Carolina
New Mexico Oregon
New York Pennsylvania
North Carolina Tennessee
North Dakota Vermont
Ohio Virginia
Oklahoma Washington
Oregon West Virginia
Pennsylvania Wisconsin
Rhode Island  
South Carolina  
West Virginia  
*As of September 2015

Co-Prescribing or Prescribing Naloxone

One of the 5 goals of the Task Force is to encourage physicians to co-prescribe naloxone to a patient or prescribe naloxone to a family member or close friend when it is clinically appropriate.

Questions for physicians to consider before co-prescribing or prescribing naloxone:
  • Is my patient on a high opioid dose?
  • Is my patient also on a concomitant benzodiazepine prescription?
  • Does my patient have a history of substance use disorder?
  • Does my patient have an underlying mental health condition that might make him or her more susceptible to overdose?
  • Does my patient have a medical condition, such as a respiratory disease or other co-morbidities, which might make him or her susceptible to opioid toxicity, respiratory distress or overdose?
  • Might my patient be in a position to aid someone who is at risk of opioid overdose?

For more information on how to save lives from overdose, download the Task Force's guide to increasing access to naloxone.

Information & Training for Physicians

Before you prescribe naloxone, you should be prepared to educate your patients and their families on the risk and what to do in the case of an overdose.

The Task Force has compiled information and training to provide guidance for physicians on discussions about overdose risk, training in case of overdose, treatments for substance use disorder and understanding the stigma their patients might feel.