Emergency rules have been extended to ensure Michiganders have full access to naloxone

Emergency rules that have increased access to the life-saving medication naloxone in Michigan are being extended, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced.

Just under half the state’s pharmacies with controlled substance licenses have registered under the emergency rule to receive pre-authorization to dispense the medication that reverses opioid overdoses to people at risk of an overdose or their loved ones.

“During the first three months of the naloxone standing order, pharmacies dispensed 1,290 orders of naloxone that all had the potential to save a life,” Calley said. “Extending these emergency rules will help ensure that Michiganders maintain access to this lifesaving drug permanent rules are finalized.”

Registered pharmacies can dispense naloxone under a standing order signed by Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, without a prescription from an individual’s physician.

In May, Gov. Snyder requested emergency rules from the state’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) that allowed naloxone to be distributed under the standing order. These rules were necessary to rapidly place naloxone in the hands of those most readily able to stop and reverse opioid overdoses. LARA is in the process of establishing permanent rules regarding the dispensing of naloxone under the standing order.

As of mid-November, 49.8 percent of Michigan’s 2,840 pharmacies with controlled substance licenses had registered with MDHHS to be able to dispense naloxone under the standing order. 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.

People who obtain naloxone from pharmacies receive information on steps for responding to an opioid overdose and important details 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. Registered pharmacies can be found at www.michigan.gov/naloxone.