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Baltimore ushers in easier public access to naloxone

June 2, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana S. Wen, MD, on Thursday signed a standing order that will allow city residents to obtain the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone over the counter, without a requirement for completion of in-person or online training.

The change was made possible by the Maryland legislature's recent adoption of the Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) Act. Some officials had said that paperwork requirements around the training were impeding the effort to make the life-saving medication more widely available.

The Baltimore Sun reported that since Wen issued the first standing order for naloxone in 2015, around 23,000 people have received naloxone training and the medication has been administered to overdose victims around 800 times.

Wen will discuss some of Baltimore's experiences when she delivers the opening keynote address Aug. 17 at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD), to be held in Baltimore Aug. 16-20.