Naloxone, Antidote to Heroin Overdose, Now Available Over the Counter in Florida

Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr Creative Commons

Here's hoping that you never need it, but the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers, today announced the passage of HB1241, which allows pharmacists in Florida to dispense naloxone without a prescription. Naloxone — frequently known by the Narcan brand — can reverse the effects of heroin or other opioids — at least "long enough to get the patient to a hospital," according to the FRF. It can be administered by a shot or nasal spray.

Also this week, legislators passed a bill allowing for the establishment of a needle exchange program, which will be privately funded, at Miami's Jackson Hospital. 

From the announcement: 

“Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue in our state, and allowing access for those families who are struggling with addiction to this life-saving drug is vital in our battle to protect Florida families,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “I want to thank Senator Denise Grimsley and Representative Rene Plasencia for sponsoring this important legislation that will go a long way towards saving lives.”

Prescription drug abuse continues to be a public health and safety risk. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 6.5 million Americans misused a prescription drug in 2014, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths, which include prescription and illicit drugs, during the same year. That is a 6.5 percent increase from 2013 and a 140 percent increase since 2000. Most people who misuse prescription drugs first obtain them from a family member or friend, often from a home medicine cabinet.

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