Washington state health officials expand access to opioid reversal medication
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state officials signed a statewide standing order for naloxone on Wednesday.
Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. It is administered as an injection or a nasal spray, and temporarily blocks the effects of opioid drugs.
In 2018, 710 people across the state died of an opioid overdose. Washington State Health Office Dr.
Kathy Lofy said making naloxone easier to access and distribute is an important step in addressing the opioid crisis and will reduce overdose deaths.
The standing order works like a prescription and allows any person or organization across Washington state to get naloxone from a pharmacy.
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. The Department of Health said 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 Department of Health said naloxone is very safe and does not have serious side effects if accidentally given to someone who is not experiencing an opioid overdose. The department said to use it if you think someone is overdosing, even if you are unsure what drug they may have taken.
This effort is part of the state’s comprehensive opioid response, which is focused on preventing misuse, identifying and treating opioid use disorder, preventing deaths from overdose and using data to monitor and support these efforts.
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