1909 narcan

Naloxone, a medica­tion that can reverse an opioid overdose, will be avail­able at pharma­cies throughout Washington after Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer, signed a statewide standing order on Aug. 28

The standing order works like a prescrip­tion and allows any person or organi­za­tion in the state to get naloxone from a pharmacy. 

Making it easier to access and distribute this lifesaving medica­tion to people who need it is an impor­tant step in addressing the opioid crisis and reducing overdose deaths in our state,” said Dr. Lofy. In 2018, 710 Washington residents died of an opioid overdose.” 

An overdose of opioid drugs like prescrip­tion painkillers, heroin and fentanyl can cause a person’s breathing to slow or stop. Naloxone can be given as an injec­tion or a nasal spray to someone experi­encing an overdose. It works by temporarily blocking the effects of opioid drugs. 

Naloxone is safe and does not have serious side effects if acciden­tally given to someone who is not experi­encing an opioid overdose. If you think someone is experi­encing an overdose but aren’t sure what kind of drugs they may have taken, use naloxone. 

The Washington State Depart­ment of Health encour­ages anyone who is at risk of experi­encing or witnessing an opioid overdose to carry naloxone. People who want to get naloxone can use the standing order at any pharmacy in the state without a prescrip­tion from a health care provider. 

It’s best to call ahead to make sure the pharmacy has naloxone avail­able and check your insur­ance coverage. Most commer­cial health insur­ance plans cover at least one form of naloxone, but coverage and costs vary. Apple Health (Medicaid) clients can get naloxone at no cost. 

The standing order will also make it easier for organi­za­tions working with people who may need naloxone to get and distribute the medica­tion. Organi­za­tions inter­ested in getting naloxone under the standing order need to notify the depart­ment. The depart­ment will keep a list of organi­za­tions and notify them if there are changes to the order.