New legislation in North Carolina and Texas make naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, more accessible to patients. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed Senate Bill (SB) 734 into law on June 20, 2016, which authorizes the state health director to prescribe an opioid antagonist using a statewide standing order.
Under the former law, only a practitioner was authorized to prescribe an opioid antagonist pursuant to a standing order. SB 734 became effective the same day, according to the North Carolina Health and Human Services press release.
Beginning August 1, 2016, pharmacists in Texas will be authorized to dispense naloxone to patients under a standing order. The legislation will require pharmacists to complete a one-hour course accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education and in coordination with the Texas Pharmacy Association, according to a press release.
SB 1462 states an authorized prescriber may prescribe an opioid antagonist through a standing order. Medical doctors have unlimited, independent prescribing authority in every state. NABP’s 2016 Survey of Pharmacy Law states that pharmacists in Texas may perform specific acts relating to drug therapy management under written protocol from a practitioner including implementing or modifying therapy.