Overdose Drug, Naloxone, Available In Utah Prescription-Free

Dec 9, 2016

A new law approved this month will allow pharmacies throughout Utah to sell the opioid overdose drug, naloxone, without a prescription.

At the Utah Department of Health office in Salt Lake City, Angela Stander is holding a small, white plastic nasal spray container.

"It’s kind of a plunger type device. Just insert that up into one nostril, up as far as you can," she explains. "Hold it and then push the plunger through with your thumb. It's kind of an instant spray." 

Stander's title is Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Coordinator. She’s showing me how to use naloxone, the drug used in case of an opioid overdose. Now, thanks to a new law, naloxone will be available throughout Utah to anyone, without a prescription.

"The biggest thing that happened today is kind of what we did years ago with the flu shot and being able to walk into a pharmacy and not have to go into your doctor’s office," Stander says. 

According to Stander, 24 Utahns die every month from opioid-related overdoses. That can mean illegal drugs like heroin, but also prescription drugs for pain management.

Over half of the states in the U.S. have similar laws to increase naloxone access by reducing the need for a prescription. That makes it easier for family and friends of people who are at-risk of an overdose to get the prevention drug.

"It’s not the answer to this problem overall." But, Stander says, it will prevent some deaths while they work to solve the bigger problem.

More information about naloxone access in Utah can be found here