California orders opioid overdose antidote naloxone available without prescription

The California Department of Public Health on June 7 issued a statewide standing order for naloxone. The order functions as a standing prescription that enables all California organizations that work to reduce or manage drug addiction to distribute naloxone to patients and members of the community.

The California Department of Public Health on June 7 issued a statewide standing order for naloxone. The order functions as a standing prescription that enables all California organizations that work to reduce or manage drug addiction to distribute naloxone to patients and members of the community. The facilities would no longer have to get a prescription from an individual doctor. Public health officials have pushed in recent years to make the medication more accessible. State regulations that took effect in 2015 authorized California pharmacists to make naloxone available without a prescription, but not all pharmacies carry it. But, in some parts of the state, particularly in rural areas, there are physician shortages and treatment facilities often struggle to find a doctor who will write a standing order for naloxone. Some physicians are reluctant to write a standing prescription for patients they have not seen in person, and addiction medicine is outside the purview of many doctors’ practices. Under the state order, Public Health Director Karen Smith, MD, would now serve as the prescribing physician for naloxone for these facilities. The facilities must apply to the California Department of Public Health to receive the order.