Naloxone to Become More Widely Available in Tennessee
For decades medical providers have had access to opioid antagonists to address and reverse opioid-related drug overdoses. The Tennessee General Assembly passed HB 1427 (McCormick, Williams R, Brooks K, Favors, Dunn, Brooks H, SB 1631 (Norris, Overbey) authorizing the widespread use among lay persons in an effort to save lives.
The bill authorizes a health care practitioner to prescribe an opioid antagonist in the following circumstances:
- The practitioner is licensed to do so;
- The practitioner is acting in good faith; and
- The prescription is for a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose, or for a family member, friend, or a person who is in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose.
This bill also opens up access for first responders, such as police and fire fighters.
Naloxone (brand name Narcan) can be administered either through an injection or nasal mist. The Tennessee Department of Health has been asked to provide access to education on naloxone administration through their web portal. Administration is not difficult, but some guidance is necessary to be sure the appropriate steps are followed. The link below is a good one to use to refer people to until one is made available in Tennessee. There are several assessment steps that should be taken before administering naloxone.