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Physician Assistance Needed on Naloxone Protocols

Lawmakers in 2015 passed Senate Bill 192, anti-heroin legislation designed to curb drug addiction and overdose deaths. The legislation, commonly known as the “Heroin Bill,” encourages a comprehensive approach to tackling the state’s fastest-growing public health crisis.

SB 192 contains a provision that promotes greater access to naloxone, a lifesaving heroin overdose antidote, by allowing appropriately trained and certified pharmacists to initiate the dispensing of the drug under a physician-approved protocol. The use of such protocols does not require an individual prescription and is intended to streamline and expedite the delivery of the drug.

To date, approximately 900 pharmacists have received naloxone certification from the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy. These pharmacists are now eligible to collaborate with a physician in developing a protocol that establishes the following items:

• criteria for use in identifying individuals who need naloxone;
• the medications, doses and routes of administration the pharmacist is permitted to dispense;
• patient education requirements; and
• documentation procedures.

Unfortunately, a considerable number of certified pharmacists are waiting to find physicians willing to collaborative through the physician-approved protocol. Efforts are needed educate physicians and pharmacists about Senate Bill 192 and the new naloxone protocol. To assist in that process, resources have been developed (e.g. protocol template) and made available to physicians and pharmacists regarding how this tool may be helpful to their practice and overall public health.

KMA urges members interested in learning more about the naloxone protocol and partnering with a pharmacist to visit the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy website for further information and resources.

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