The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced a statewide issue allowing pharmacies to dispense naloxone, an overdose reversal drug, without a prescription.
In Monday's announcement, the department said the State's Overdose Program is meant to help further combat the heroin and opioid epidemic throughout the state of Maryland.
Naloxone is a prescription drug that safely and effectively reverses overdoses related to opioid use. Expanding access to naloxone is part of the state's effort to decrease overdose related deaths. Overdose deaths increased 60 percent statewide between 2010 and 2014.
Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen applauded Maryland's decision to expand access for the opioid overdose antidote. "We are proud to see that our state partners have followed the model we set here in Baltimore...we have put naloxone in the hands of over a thousand individuals across our city," Dr. Wen said.
The new law, issued by Dr. Howard Haft, deputy secretary for Public Health Services at Health and Mental Hygiene, allows all Maryland-licensed pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription to anyone trained and certified under the department's Overdose Response Program.
For more information on the program, visit the Overdose Response Program webpage.