Pilot programs of pharmacy-based naloxone (PBN) education and distribution to patients in two states could serve as models for other states to help reach patients at risk for opioid overdose and their families, according to an article appearing in Harm Reduction Journal.

Researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC), Rhode Island Hospital, and the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy developed PBN distribution programs to allow pharmacists to provide naloxone to at-risk populations, including patients who use illicit drugs or may be at risk of overdosing from a prescribed medication, without the explicit instruction of a physician. After the program was successfully launched in five pharmacies in areas with high prescription opioid overdose mortality, the program was expanded to other interested pharmacies.

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In the article, data on naloxone prescriptions and opioid death trends from Rhode Island suggest that the increased access to naloxone through pharmacies is helping to slow the epidemic of opioid overdoses in the state compared to substantial increases in overdose death seen in surrounding states. “Given that nearly every community has a pharmacy, there is a tremendous opportunity to help save lives by allowing pharmacists to provide naloxone rescue kits to those at risk for overdose,” stated lead author Traci Green, PhD, MSc.

For more information visit BMC.org.