Naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal medication that has been proven to save lives. Data are accumulating that show that making naloxone widely available can cut overdose deaths. Under a California law passed in 2014, pharmacists who complete a short online training course may give naloxone to any patient who requests it. No prescription is needed. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that providing naloxone to patients using opioids for pain resulted in 47% fewer opioid-related ED visits in the first year after receiving the drug. CHCF is supporting partners to deploy naloxone through a variety of settings.
In the 1990s, opioid prescriptions started to climb, in large part because doctors were taught to treat pain aggressively and told that the risk of addiction was minimal. Today we know that the overuse of opioids puts people at risk of complications, addiction, and accidental overdose death. CHCF is working with partners in health plans, physician and pharmacy groups, hospitals, behavioral health experts, and others to disseminate evidence-based guidelines for safer prescribing.