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Pharmacies set to supply take-home naloxone without a prescription

The government has announced that it will give pharmacists and pharmacy technicians the power to supply naloxone for future use without a prescription. 

The UK government yesterday (May 14) greenlit plans to allow “registered pharmacy professionals” to supply take-home naloxone, a “life-saving drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose”.

The decision comes after a six week long consultation proposing wider access to naloxone was met with “overwhelming support” across 325 responses, it said.

It added that “current legislation allows only drug and alcohol treatment services to supply it to individuals for future use” – usually called take-home naloxone – although anyone can administer the drug in an emergency.

But following the reforms, more organisations and individuals will be allowed to supply take-home naloxone, the government said.

“We aim to enact these changes over the course of this year, subject to parliamentary scrutiny in the UK parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly,” it added.


“Mandatory training requirements”


The new legislation will give “registered pharmacy professionals” the “enabling power to supply naloxone without a prescription” although they will not be required to do so, the government said.

Police forces, prison staff, probation officers and registered nurses are also among the “named services and professionals” set to be able to supply the drug without a prescription. 

“We have also proposed that there are mandatory training requirements for new services and professionals taking on this role,” the government added.

This would include “understanding of appropriate practices around storing and supplying naloxone and how to support a person being supplied with naloxone”, it said.

In October, Scotland launched a nationwide pharmacy naloxone service meaning all Scottish pharmacies now hold “at least” two naloxone kits.

In August, staff at Sheffield’s Wicker Pharmacy prevented two overdose deaths just a week after receiving naloxone training.

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