Iowans now have easier access to a drug that can reverse a heroin or opioid overdose and prevent it from being fatal.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers approved a bill that allowed family members or friends to possess and administer naloxone, but under that bill they couldn’t buy it. Kevin Gabbert at the Iowa Department of Public Health says that was a big gap in the legislation.
“Where it fell short, it didn’t identify how those persons in a position to assist could access naloxone,” Gabbert says. Before adjourning, lawmakers agreed to let any person close to a drug addict get a prescription for the antidote and keep it on hand.
Parents of addicts who died of drug overdoses had pushed for the change. The new law took effect on July 1st and is a game-changer for Iowans who are worried about a loved one who’s also an addict. Gabbert says, “A family member or friend could go to a physician and obtain a prescription because they were concerned or they knew an individual who had a heroin or opioid dependency.”
The new law also extends access to naloxone for more emergency medical personnel. This fall, pharmacies should be able to keep standing orders for naloxone so it can be purchased without an additional visit to the doctor. The legislation includes legal protections for those who administer the drug to reverse the effects of an overdose.
(Thanks to Joyce Russell, Iowa Public Radio)