Study: Naloxone dispensing increased more than 2,000%

CINCINNATI (AP) — Naloxone dispensing increased more than 2,000% in Ohio since it was made available without a prescription in 2015, research shows.

A new study by the University of Cincinnati showed obtaining naloxone without a prescription made a huge impact in the state, WCPO reported.

The drug, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose by helping the person breathe again, was made available to purchase from a pharmacy without a prescription in July 2015. Before the law passed, residents had to go through an order process to get naloxone, which some said created barriers.

“In the past a person would have had to go to a physician’s office, see the physician, get a prescription, go to the pharmacy to get the medication, so those are a lot of steps,” said Pam Heaton, a professor of pharmacy practice at UC’s Winkle College.

The research documented that as of May 2019, around 75% of community pharmacies in the state were registered to dispense the drug without a prescription.

Ohio had the second-highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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This story was first published on Feb. 3, 2020. It was updated on Feb. 10, 2020, to make clear that naloxone dispensing increased by more than 2,000% since it was made available without a prescription in 2015.

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