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California lawmakers passed a bill that would allow pharmacists to furnish naloxone without a prescription according to guidelines yet to be established by the state’s pharmacy and medical boards.
California lawmakers recently passed a bill that would allow pharmacists to furnish naloxone without a prescription according to guidelines yet to be established by the state’s pharmacy and medical boards.
The bill (AB 1535), sponsored by Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and backed by the California Pharmacists Association, has been sent to the governor for his signature. Naloxone hydrochloride is used to reverse opiate overdoses, but in most states pharmacists can’t dispense it without a prescription.
“The bipartisan support of the Legislature is gratifying and will directly help many California families,” Bloom said. “As the bill heads to the Governor’s desk, I am committed to continuing our efforts to stop the epidemic of overdose deaths.”
In response to rising number of opioid overdoses, several states have either made naloxone available without a prescription or through collaborative agreements between pharmacists and doctors.
“California has thousands of pharmacies, and lives can be lost in the minutes waiting for a police officer or ambulance to arrive with naloxone to reverse an overdose,” said Meghan Ralston, Harm Reduction Manager of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This would make it easier for caregivers and family members to keep naloxone on hand for use in those critical moments."