Senate passes bill to help combat prescription drug, heroin overdoses

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – The North Carolina Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would help prevent overdose deaths caused by heroin and various prescription narcotics.

Its objective is to make a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose easier to access at pharmacies statewide.

The bill would authorize the state health director to issue a statewide “standing order” allowing all N.C. licensed pharmacists to dispense the medication, called naloxone.

Under current law, a pharmacy can’t dispense naloxone. People also can’t receive the drug without a prescription, or standing order from a doctor.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, naloxone is safe, effective and harmless if administered to someone not experiencing an opioid overdose.

“Drug abuse is a dangerous epidemic that touches every corner of our state and wrecks lives every day,” said Sens. Louis Pate. “This bill is one solution that can help save lives.”

More than 1,000 people died from an overdose in North Carolina in 2015.

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