PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There’s a program in Washington state that makes it easier for people to get free Narcan, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.
Synthetic opioid overdoses, such as fentanyl, are plaguing communities across the Pacific Northwest.
For years now, Washington has had legislature on the books that gives everyone the power to save lives with easy access to Narcan.
The statewide standing order was passed in 2019, renewed last year and does two things.
The first, it allows anyone to go to their pharmacy and request naloxone without a prescription from their doctor. Second, it allows community-based programs distribute the drug without their own medical advisor or doctor on staff.
Emalie Huriaux is a drug user health specialist for the Washington State Department of Health and says there is a wide range of people who are susceptible to an opioid overdose.
“There are people prescribed opioids who may think that using one was good, using two is better,” said Huriaux. “Mixing with alcohol, that could make someone more susceptible to an overdose. People who are dependent on opioids and have had a history of using opioids, particularly if you purchase opioids on the streets.”
Huriaux added that when people buy a pressed pill or powder on the street they cannot know what’s in it.
Health specialists are reportedly seeing an increase of people getting drugs online, and that can make people more vulnerable.
“Any of us are vulnerable to witnessing an overdose and all of us can do something about that. That’s another really important part of the standing order empowering everyone to carry Naloxone if they want to,” said Huriaux.