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Washington expands access to opioid reversal medication

Prescription Naloxone.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Pharmacies across Washington state can now dispense opioid overdose reversal medication without a prescription.

Washington State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy signed a statewide standing order Wednesday for naloxone. The standing order, which works like a prescription, allows any person or organization in the state to purchase naloxone from a pharmacy. Washington joins more than two dozen other states that have a similar policy.

Since February, the Department of Health has also managed a program that distributes naloxone kits to programs statewide for distribution to their communities. The department expects to deliver 11,000 kits within the first year. The program is funded in part by a federal opioid grant managed by the Washington State Health Care Authority.

Lofy said 710 Washington residents died of an opioid overdose last year.

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