In Fla., pharmacists can now dispense drug to reverse heroin overdose without physician prescription

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill Friday allowing pharmacies to provide naloxone, a medicine that reverses heroin overdose, without a prescription from a physician, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The bill enables pharmacists to dispense the emergency opioid antagonist similar to how they provide the flu shot or epi-pens to individuals with allergies, according to the report.

The passage of the bill comes as Florida communities combat a growing heroin epidemic.

Heroin use has accelerated as state authorities have cracked down on "pill mills," or corrupt general practitioners who dispense narcotics to people without legitimate need. Heroin-related deaths in OrangeCounty soared from 14 in 2011 to 84 in 2015, according to the report.

"Expanded naloxone pharmacy access is good public health policy that will save lives," said Kevin Sherin, MD, director of OrangeCounty health department, according to the report. "I commend the governor and the Legislature for acting quickly."

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