At hundreds of pharmacies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, pharmacists have been granted the authority to distribute naloxone kits to people without a prescription, ScienceDaily reports. The open access naloxone programs are part of a set of opioid protocols led by researchers at:
- Boston Medical Center (BMC)
- Rhode Island Hospital
- University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy
"We are encountering an unprecedented public health crisis related to opioid abuse and overdose," said Traci Green, PhD, MSc, deputy director of BMC's Injury Prevention Center, who served as the article's first author. "Given that nearly every community has a pharmacy, there is a tremendous opportunity to help save lives by allowing pharmacists to provide naloxone rescue kits to those at risk for overdose."
"Creating these `behind-the-counter' pharmacy models for naloxone allows greater access and availability to people who may not be comfortable or able to obtain naloxone from syringe exchange programs or drug treatment programs, and especially to communities outside of urban settings," Green said. "Unfortunately, not all communities have harm reduction or treatment services available, but pharmacies are everywhere."
The protocols can be accessed in Harm Reduction Journal.