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Pharmacists could ‘hold and give’ naloxone under proposed law change

UK pharmacists may be able to supply take-home naloxone without a prescription under plans to amend current regulations.

Subject to an eight-week consultation, pharmacists and other professionals such as paramedics, nurses and police officers would be eligible to “hold and give” naloxone in a drive to tackle drug-related deaths, the government announced today (August 3).

The drug, which is administered to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, is a prescription-only medicine and can currently be administered by anyone during an emergency.

However, only commissioned drug treatment services are currently able to “obtain and supply” naloxone without a prescription or another written authorisation, outside of an emergency.

The proposed changes would apply to professionals working throughout the UK, with the consultation seeking views from people in each of these countries.

The consultation – which will close on September 28 – seeks "views on the viability of these proposals, as well as suggestions from stakeholders of any more individuals or services that should also be included in the list” of frontline professionals.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “To prevent people dying from drug abuse we need to make sure the right treatment and medicines are available, which is why we’re launching this consultation on naloxone today.”

The full list of the professions that the proposed changes would apply to includes:

  • pharmacists
  • registered nurses
  • paramedics 
  • midwives 
  • police officers
  • prison officers
  • probation officers
  • ·outreach and day services for people who experience homelessness 
  • temporary and supported accommodation services for substance users and people who experience homelessness 

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