Louisiana Health Department Renews Naloxone Order

"Louisiana has more opioid prescriptions than we have people, and the widespread distribution of naloxone is a key component of our strategy to combat the opioid epidemic and save lives," said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.

The Louisiana Department of Health announced Jan. 22 that Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the department, has renewed a standing order for the overdose-reversing medication naloxone. Her action allows laypeople who are helping a person who has overdosed or who is at risk of an overdose on heroin, morphine, or another opioid drug to continue to receive naloxone without having to get a direct prescription from a doctor.

The state of Louisiana first issued the naloxone standing order a year ago.

Gee's renewals keeps that order in place and allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone to laypeople, including caregivers, family and friends of an opioid user. People who receive naloxone from a pharmacy will be provided information about how to recognize an overdose and how to store and administer the medication, and they'll be given information about emergency follow-up procedures.

"Louisiana has more opioid prescriptions than we have people, and the widespread distribution of naloxone is a key component of our strategy to combat the opioid epidemic and save lives," she said.

According to the department, Louisiana has seen a steady increase in overdose deaths since 1999, and the number of deaths more than doubled from 2011 to 2015. Also, CDC has reported more than 1,000 people died from an overdose in Louisiana in 2016 -- more than the number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents, homicides, or suicides that year.

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