A life-saving antidote for narcotic overdoses became available over-the-counter in Michigan following action Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder, though pharmacies may not be ready to distribute the medication.
Naloxone is a fast-acting medication that reverses opioid overdoses that caused nearly 2,000 deaths in Michigan in 2015. Nearly 900 people died in Wayne County alone in 2016.
The medication can immediately reverse the effects of opioids â such as heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin â that can cause people to stop breathing. It also can reverse the effects of super-powerful drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil, which are increasingly being mixed with heroin and often result in death.
Snyder authorized the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to issue a standing order â akin to a statewide prescription â pre-authorizing the distribution of naloxone by pharmacists.
The distribution effort may be delayed because pharmacies must register with the state to participate. Registration opened for pharmacies on Thursday.
Michigan joins at least 30 other states where naloxone is available over-the-counter, though some pharmacies â including some Walgreens and Meijer store outlets â provide the medication without a prescription. Rescue workers, law enforcement officers and Michigan State Police have been carrying it for more than a year.
âNaloxone is a tool in the fight against opioid addiction that can save lives immediately and we need to make sure all residents statewide have access, both in rural areas and urban centers,â Snyder said in a press…