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Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is the lifesaving drug antidote that reverses an opioid overdose. It has been used in ambulances and hospitals for decades to reverse overdose. It is legal and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It works by neutralizing the opioids in your system by helping you breathe again. You can’t get high from it and there are no known side effects or negative consequences of using naloxone.
In April of 2015, Senate Bill 406, also known as Aaron’s Law, went into effect allowing lay persons (the general public) to administer naloxone to a friend or family person who is experiencing an opioid overdose. A person may obtain a prescription for naloxone from their family physician and get it filled at their local pharmacy.
Click here for a sample Standing Order.
Click here for Standing Orders by Indiana Prescribers under Aarons Law as well as a chart detailing different paths to Naloxone as authorized by Aaron's Law.
Obtaining a prescription for naloxone for a loved one that is at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose could save their life. It’s a safety net for at risk individuals and friend and family members can now be empowered to administer naloxone in case of a medical emergency without fear of any legal repercussions. Those with substance abuse problems who are recently released from treatment centers or jails are especially vulnerable for overdose as their tolerance level will generally be low.
Lay persons are required by law to contact 9-1-1 to summons emergency medical services either immediately before or immediately after administering naloxone. Often times an additional dose of naloxone is required.
Entities such as treatment centers, overdose prevention organizations, community corrections, etc., can also dispense and train lay persons to administer naloxone. They are required to obtain a standing order from a medical prescriber. An entity who is dispensing naloxone under a standing order, must first register with the Indiana State Department of Health. To register as an entity with ISDH click here.
Physician and pharmacist involvement could play a critical role in curbing the opioid overdose epidemic particularly among at risk and vulnerable populations. Both professions have access to INSPECT, our state’s prescription drug monitoring program, providing them with the ability to identify such targeted populations. Indiana law now allows for the prescribing and distribution of naloxone to patients, opening the opportunity for physicians and pharmacists to proactively engage in this comprehensive approach to overdose prevention.
To learn how to implement a naloxone program, download the Opioid Overdose Education & Naloxone Training Guide for Healthcare Professionals.
Click here for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Toolkit which equips health care providers, communities and local governments with material to develop practices and policies to help prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths. It also addresses issues for health care providers, first responders, treatment providers, and those recovering from opioid overdose.