In 2014, Utah’s first Naloxone bill was passed. This law allowed for non-medical personnel to administer naloxone without a prescription (le.utah.gov). Naloxone is a non-narcotic prescription medication that when administered to someone during an opiate overdose, can reverse the overdose and save their lives. This medication can be administered in a variety of ways including intramuscular and nasally and can be safely administered several times if needed. It is easily administered by layman and is ideal for distribution to family and friends of high risk opiate users. Naloxone is also safe to give to someone who is not in an overdose and although it will not do anything to help them, it will also not hurt them which is helpful when a person has limited time to assist and overdose may be the cause of respiratory arrest. Every state in the nation has enacted Naloxone Access Laws with the exception of three and there has been more than 26,000 reported reversals (National Conference of State Legislators, 2017).
In the Utah 2016 session, this policy was expanded to allow additional access through a standing order issued through The Opiate Overdose Response Act (le.utah.gov).
There are many pros to this policy, one being the ease of access to this life saving drug. It is fair to assume that the more naloxone is distributed, the more reversals will be reported, meaning more lives saved. Another pro to this policy is that naloxone is nonnarcotic, so there is no fear of prosecution which makes more people more likely to carry this drug and assist someone who may be experiencing an overdose.
There are a few cons to this policy. Naloxone used to be relatively inexpensive, but costs have risen. For a high risk person who does not have insurance or means, naloxone is still inaccessible. Although monies have been appropriated to fund the opiate overdose pilot program, there still has not been enough naloxone for all who need it. Another con to this policy is that it does not provide access to treatment services or referrals to resources. A family member may reverse an overdose, but they are usually at a loss as to what they should do next for their loved one.