Early data shows nearly one-third of naloxone dispensed through state’s standing order
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017
LANSING, Mich. – In the first three months after a standing order for naloxone was authorized in Michigan, pharmacies have dispensed 1,290 potentially life-saving orders of the medication, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced today.
Pharmacies dispensed 2,814 other orders of naloxone through prescriptions from physicians during this same time period – meaning nearly one-third of naloxone dispensed by pharmacies in Michigan were under the state’s naloxone standing order.
“The opioid epidemic is an emergency and we are taking every action possible to combat it,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley “Recovery from addiction is rarely a straight line. Relapses are a reality that families need to plan for and this standing order is ensuring that we will have more second chances and fewer funerals.
Development of the standing order by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells is part of the state’s strategy for addressing the opioid epidemic in Michigan. Last week, President Trump declared a national public health emergency due to the increasing mortality from opioid use and abuse.
From the end of May through the end of September, 962 Michigan pharmacies registered online to obtain the standing order, allowing them to dispense naloxone to those at risk of an opioid-related overdose, as well as family members, friends, and other persons who may be able to assist a person at risk of overdose. There are 2,840 pharmacies with controlled substance licenses in Michigan, so the number registered to dispense naloxone under the standing order represents approximately 34 percent of the pharmacies in the state.
“As we continue to fight the serious problem of opioid addiction, data from the first three months demonstrate the order is making naloxone more accessible to those most likely to need it,” Wells said. “We hope to continue registering pharmacies and create greater public awareness about the standing order because it can save lives. As the requests for standing orders continue to come in on a regular basis, our goal is to provide this authorization to every registered pharmacy in Michigan. Naloxone is a safe and life-saving drug that needs to be more accessible as we address this powerful addiction.”
Michigan has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-related deaths. From 1999-2015 more than 8,900 people have died from an opioid overdose with over 50 percent of those deaths occurring since 2010.
Previously, naloxone was available by prescription only. In recent years, law enforcement and other first responders have increased their capacity to administer naloxone to address opioid overdoses – the majority which occur due to prescription painkillers, fentanyl and heroin. With the standing, naloxone is more accessible to individuals who can receive naloxone from a registered pharmacy without a prescription.
People who obtain naloxone from pharmacies receive information on steps for responding to an opioid overdose and important information about where to go for further treatment. Pharmacies are required to continue tracking the amount of naloxone dispensed and will report these numbers to MDHHS on a quarterly basis.
Anyone who wants to learn more about drug treatment services available in their area can visit www.michigan.gov/bhrecovery.