INDIANAPOLIS -- The General Assembly approved a bill Wednesday that aims to give more people access to the overdose intervention drug naloxone and protect them when they use it.
Naloxone immediately halts the effects of an opioid overdose. The legislature last session allowed people other than first responders to use it.
But people still needed a doctor’s prescription to get the drug, and many pharmacies didn’t stock it.
Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, says this year’s bill will allow the state to issue what’s called a standing order to pharmacies, meaning they can dispense naloxone without a doctor’s prescription.
“That somebody who might be concerned, just for a friend, that would have it on hand. They could easily go to the pharmacy and purchase it,” Merritt says.
Walgreens already planned to offer the drug in Indiana before this bill.
Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, says the measure also helps people who administer naloxone by shielding them from drug charges under certain conditions.
“Somebody who follows instructions, who gives naloxone to somebody who’s overdosing on heroin, stays at the scene, [and] provides their information will receive immunity,” McNamara says.
The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.