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Study Finds More Naloxone Dispensed Following Passage of 2015 Law

In 2015, an Ohio law was passed allowing the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone to be dispensed without a prescription.

Dispensing rates for the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone increased after a 2015 Ohio law went into effect that allowed pharmacists to give the drug without a prescription. 

A recent study, published in the journal JAMA Open, found that Ohio counties with high unemployment, high poverty and low education saw a greater uptick in naloxone dispensing rates than other areas.

Study co-author and University of Cincinnati researcher Neil MacKinnon said the correlation makes sense, because many of these counties were hit the hardest by the opioid epidemic.

“We also know that some of those are also rural counties where access to a physician or other health care providers can be a challenge,” MacKinnon said. “There are some rural communities in Ohio where really the pharmacist is the only health care provider.”

Neil MacKinnon also said there has been greater education around the drug since the law was passed.

“We’ve seen just in recent years an awareness of what is Narcan or naloxone.”

The study looked at naloxone orders between 2015 and 2017 and it primarily studied Ohio residents using Medicaid.