New Law Allows Pharmacists To Sell Drug That Reverses Heroin Overdose Without Doctor Rx

By  //  July 24, 2016


ABOVE VIDEO: Testimonials by a patient and physician to the effectiveness of quick administration of naloxone (Narcan) in saving the life of a person experiencing an opioid overdose, and the how and why people at risk benefit from carrying a naloxone rescue kit.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Opioid abuse and overdose have reached crisis level in America and across the globe. There are an estimated 15 million people worldwide who suffer from addiction to opioids, with the majority dependent on illicitly cultivated and manufactured heroin, but an increasing proportion using prescription opioids, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Oxycontin), Percocet), morphine and codeine.

Worldwide, an estimated 69,000 people die from opioid overdose each year. Due to their effect on the part of the brain, which regulates breathing, opioids in high doses can cause respiratory depression and death.

The pure opioid antagonist, Naloxone, marketed under the trade name Narcan, is a medication used to counter the effects of opioids, like heroin, morphine and other prescription morphine-like pain-killers, especially in overdose, by reversing the depression of the central nervous system, respiratory system, and drop in blood pressure caused by opioids.

In early 2015 we reported on the legal, political and medical dynamics surrounding a Florida House bill that promoted wider availability through physician prescription of Naloxone outside the hospital setting for more timely treatment of narcotic overdose.

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel below, with the new Florida law now allowing pharmacists to sell Narcan without a prescription, the life-saving drug will be even more readily available to those at risk.

— Dr. Jim Palermo, Editor-in-Chief

The new Florida law makes the opioid-reversal drug Narcan more accessible without a prescription, but health officials caution that calling 911 and providing CPR if necessary along with Narcan are essential in overdose situations for first responders to maximize the life-saving potential.

ORLANDO SENTINEL — You can now obtain naloxone, a medicine that reverses heroin overdose, from pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription, thanks to a bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law on Friday. 

“Expanded naloxone pharmacy access is good public health policy that will save lives,” said Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of Orange County health department. “I commend the governor and the Legislature for acting quickly.”

The passage of the bill comes as Orange County battles a growing heroin epidemic.

Naloxone, known under the brand name Narcan, was one of the key recommendations of the Orange County Heroin Task Force, which studied strategies to reverse the resurgence of the street drug.

CLICK HERE for the complete story on, including important information and precautions for first responders in an overdose situation.

In Brevard County, Health First TeleHealth is now offering a consultation with a Health-First Medical Group provider over the telephone or through video conferencing. CLICK HERE for more information or to request a Health First TeleHealth consultation.