North Carolina is now the third state to provide naloxone without a prescription—joining Maryland and Pennsylvania. Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law on Monday creating a statewide standing order allowing pharmacies to dispense naloxone directly to consumers.
Pharmacies were able to begin dispensing immediately on Monday afternoon once the governor signed the law. In a press conference, McCrory noted that the number of people whose lives were saved by naloxone in the state outnumbered overdose deaths last year.
“These people with addiction deserve second, third, fourth, fifth chances,” he said.
The standing orders, which are prescriptions written for the general public and kept on file, are the keys to allowing pharmacies to dispense. They are signed by physicians and have reporting requirements attached, including notifying the physician and having the consumers acknowledge that they have received training on naloxone’s proper administration. Several major drug store chains have been working with state regulators to obtain standing orders for their respective pharmacies to dispense naloxone without a prescription.
On December 14, 2015, Maryland’s Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services issued a standing order allowing all state-licensed pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription to individuals trained and certified under the Maryland Overdose Response Program. Nearly 24,000 people have been trained since March 2014.
The Physician General at the Pennsylvania Medical Society signed that state’s standing order in September 2014.