Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, has renewed the standing order for the life-saving medication Naloxone. Through this action, laypeople who are helping a person who has overdosed or who is at risk of an overdose on heroin, morphine or another opioid drug can continue to receive the lifesaving medication naloxone without having to get a direct prescription from a doctor.

Naloxone is an antidote medication that reverses an opioid overdose. Used by medical professionals for years, naloxone is the most effective way to counteract an overdose and save lives.

The State of Louisiana first issued this naloxone “standing order” a year ago. Now, Dr. Gee’s action keeps the order in place and allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone to laypeople including caregivers, family and friends of an opioid user.  People who receive naloxone from a pharmacy will be provided education about how to recognize an overdose, how to store and administer the medication, and will be given information about emergency follow-up procedures.

“Louisiana has more opioid prescriptions than we have people, and the widespread distribution of Naloxone is a key component of our strategy to combat the opioid epidemic and save lives,” said Gee.

Louisiana has seen a steady increase in deaths since 1999, and the number of deaths has more than doubled from 2011 to 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that more than 1,000 people died from an overdose in Louisiana in 2016. This number surpasses the number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents, homicides, or suicides.

Additionally, Louisiana continues to address opioid use through changes to policy and approved legislation that limits prescriptions to opioids. The Department of Health has also secured grant funding that enhances treatment and prevention programs.

About the Louisiana Department of Health 

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. The Louisiana Department of Health includes the Office of Public Health, Office of Aging & Adult Services, Office of Behavioral Health, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, and Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid).  To learn visit www.ldh.la.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or our blog.