California pharmacists to furnish naloxone?

July 2, 2014

A bill that would authorize California pharmacists to dispense naloxone hydrochloride, a drug used to reverse opiate overdoses, has cleared several legislative hurdles.

A bill that would authorize California pharmacists to dispense naloxone hydrochloride, a drug used to reverse opiate overdoses, has cleared several legislative hurdles.

The bill (AB 1535) is sponsored by Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and backed by the California Pharmacists Association. It recently passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and will next be considered by the entire Senate.

The bill would allow pharmacists to furnish naloxone according to guidelines developed by California’s pharmacy and medical boards, which includes patient counseling.

"California’s overdose crisis remains one of the state’s most serious health problems," Bloom said. “Pharmacists are highly trained, highly trusted healthcare professionals. This bill makes it easier for them to help prevent a fatal drug overdose.”

FDA approved naloxone more than 40 years ago. It can restore breathing in people overdosing on opiate drugs such oxycodone, hydrocodone, and heroin. However, until recently the drug has not been widely available outside of emergency rooms and ambulances.

With the recent nationwide surge in opiate overdoses, many states are making naloxone available to police, first responders, and family members of drug abusers.