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October 15, 2015

Montco gives pharmacies green light for Narcan without prescription

Act 139 part of push to eradicate heroin and opioid addiction

Officials in Montgomery County announced Thursday that a countywide standing order will now allow pharmacies to begin dispensing the life-saving anti-overdose drug naloxone without a prescription.

Under the order, licensed pharmacies can now sell the nasal-spray drug Narcan to those at risk of a heroin or opioid-related overdose, or to their family members, according to a statement made at a bi-weekly commissioners meeting.

“We are serious about attacking this problem from all sides in Montgomery County,” said Montgomery County Commisioner Valerie Arkoosh. “Heroin and opioid-related use, overdoses, and fatalities are on the rise nationally, as well as here in Montgomery County. By issuing this standing order for naloxone we are empowering individuals throughout the county to have access to a life-saving antidote. Act 139 has given us additional tools to do just that.”

Naloxone works by reversing the effects of respiratory depression in heroin and other opioid overdoses, which can result in a loss of consciousness and breathing. Because naloxone has a stronger affinity to opioid receptors, it temporarily knocks opioids off the receptors and enables victims to restore essential vital functions in emergency situations.

While the antidote will help save lives in Montgomery County, Arkoosh said that ACT 139 is part of a larger attempt to eradicate drug addiction and abuse.

"The ultimate goal is to ensure that those who are struggling with addiction receive the education, treatment, and recovery supports they need to live a healthy and productive life."

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