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The Opioid Antagonists Act Based on a Practitioner's Prescription - Current Topics

The Opioid Antagonists Act Based on a Practitioner's Prescription

The Opioid Antagonists Act Based on a Practitioner's Prescription

1.  Q.  Can I dispense Naloxone or other opioid antagonists to an addict pursuant to a prescription? 

A.  Yes.  So long as you have a valid, lawful prescription for it.  WEST VIRGINIA CODE Chapter 16, Article 46 is the "ACCESS TO OPIOID ANTAGONISTS ACT."  The purpose of the Act is to prevent opioid-related overdose deaths.  In §16-46-3(b), the Act provides: 

All licensed health care providers in the course of their professional practice may offer to a person considered by the licensed health care provider to be at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose, or to a relative, friend, caregiver or person in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose, a prescription for an opioid antagonist.

2.  Q.  Q.  Can I dispense Naloxone or other opioid antagonists on a prescription to a relative, friend, caregiver or person in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose?

A.  Yes, even though there is no traditional prescriber-patient relationship, §16-46-3(b) permits a practitioner to issue a prescription to these people to help prevent fatalities from opioid-related overdoses.

3.  Q.  Can I dispense Naloxone or other opioid antagonists to initial (first) responders?

A.  Yes, you can do this based on a prescription or the a standing order to do so, or you can do it under the pharmacist's protocol.  The Act defines an initial responder as follows: 

"Initial responder" means emergency medical service personnel, as defined in subdivision (g), section three, article four-c of this chapter, including, but not limited to, a member of the West Virginia State Police, a sheriff, a deputy sheriff, a municipal police officer, a volunteer or paid firefighter and any other person acting under color of law who responds to emergencies.

In §16-46-3(a), the Act states:  "All licensed health care providers in the course of their professional practice may offer to initial responders a prescription for opioid antagonists, including a standing order, to be used during the course of their professional duties as initial responders."

While this would normally be seen as a "for stock" transaction, this statute permits a pharmacy to make this sale based on the prescription or standing order, or the pharmacist's protocol.