Baltimore City health commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, signed a standing prescription for the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone, which permits residents to obtain the drug without training in its administration.
The new standing prescription will make naloxone available without a prescription at authorized pharmacies. The move reflects changes in Maryland law from the Hope Act or Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort, recently passed by the General Assembly.
While the training to acquire naloxone was simple, outreach workers found the paperwork for it to inhibit their efforts to make the drug accessible to more residents.
In Baltimore, approximately 20,000 people utilize heroin, while others misuse prescription opioids. In the first nine months of 2016, the city recorded 481 fatal overdoses related to all types of opioids.
Wen initially signed a standing order for the powerful opioid overdose antidote in 2015, but residents had to undergo training either online or in person, before they could acquire it. Since then, nearly 23,000 people had completed the training and utilized the drug 800 times to prevent overdose.