A new drug that counteracts an opiate overdose is causing some confusion in Maine.
A new law is sparking confusion in Maine, and one group is asking state lawmakers to revisit the law passed last spring that allowed over the counter sales of naloxone, which reverses the effects of opiate overdose. The law, passed in late April, directs the Board of Pharmacy to approve rules for pharmacists that want to sell naloxone under the brand name Narcan, and gave the board a deadline of July 1, 2017.
The Board of Pharmacy finally started discussing the rules at their December meeting. But there remains a lot of confusion about the law’s intentions, and whether pharmacists could refuse to sell naloxone. There were also questions about age limits and whether they would have administer naloxone to customers themselves – which is why the new discussions on the rules couldn’t come soon enough.
“It’s certainly about time,” said Kenney Miller, a co-signer of the September letter and executive director of the Health Equity Alliance, according to a Portland Press Herald report. “It’s months after the (legislative) session ended. In the meantime, we’ve seen report after report of overdose death rates continuing to climb.”
Naloxone has been hailed as an exciting new potentially life-saving drug for those who have overdosed on opiates.
“The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is pleased to announce that intranasal naloxone –a nasal spray formulation of the medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose – has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” NIH said in 2015 in a statement. “The new technology has an easy-to-use, needle-free design, providing family members, caregivers and first responders with an alternative to injectable naloxone for use during a suspected opioid overdose.”