Health Commissioner's Standing Order Aims To Increase Access To Lifesaving Overdose Reversal Medication


INDIANAPOLIS—A lifesaving medication that can reverse opioid overdoses is easier to obtain in Indiana under a new statewide standing order issued by State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Adams today issued a standing order for naloxone under Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 187, which Governor Mike Pence signed into law on March 21, 2016. The goal of the standing order, which took effect at 12:01 a.m., is to make it easier for individuals to obtain naloxone without a prescription. Entities such as nonprofits, pharmacies, local health departments, addiction treatment facilities and correctional facilities can register with the state as naloxone dispensers using either the statewide standing order signed by Dr.Adams or an order provided by another licensed prescriber. Individuals seeking naloxone can visit a registered entity and obtain the medication without first getting a prescription from their own prescriber.

Amending state law to require the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to issue a standing order for the dispensing of an overdose-intervention drug, such as naloxone, was included on Governor Mike Pence’s legislative agenda following a recommendation from the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention. Governor Pence established the task force to take a holistic and collaborative approach to addressing substance abuse and its many heartbreaking repercussions in Indiana. Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, authored SEA 187.

“People across the country are more likely to die of a drug overdose than a car crash,” Dr. Adams said. “When you’re riding in a car, you can protect yourself by wearing a seatbelt. Naloxone provides a different kind of safety net for those at risk of an overdose. By getting naloxone into the hands of people across the state, we can save lives and help those struggling with addiction.”

Since October 2015, Indiana residents have been able to visit to find entities that are registered to distribute naloxone. Currently, more than 20 entities have registered, serving more than 500 locations across the state.

“We are pleased by the growth of and hope that this standing order encourages more entities to register so that every Hoosier who needs naloxone has access to it,” Dr. Adams said. 

In order to use either the standing order signed by Dr. Adams or an order from another licensed prescriber, entities must maintain a current registration on the site, provide education and training on drug overdose response, treatment and administration of the drug, and instruct those who administer naloxone to call 911. Registered naloxone entities must also report the dates and number of doses distributed to the state annually. Training and other resources for prescribers, naloxone entities and those who may administer the medication are available on the site.

Entities that register with can dispense naloxone that can be administered intranasally or through intramuscular injection.

Indiana Medicaid currently covers most medications containing the overdose-intervention agent naloxone hydrochloride without prior authorization. Starting today, Indiana Medicaid will reimburse for these naloxone products dispensed in a pharmacy using the statewide standing order.  In accordance with ISDH’s statewide standing order, Indiana Medicaid will reimburse for intranasal naloxone and some forms of intramuscular naloxone dispensed at a pharmacy to Medicaid and Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) members.  Members should consult their pharmacist to learn more about which products are covered by Indiana Medicaid without prior authorization. For those products requiring prior authorization, members will still need to obtain a written prescription from their personal physician.

Naloxone is a non-narcotic medication that reverses life-threatening respiratory failure that is usually the cause of overdose deaths. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has been used for more than 40 years by emergency medical services personnel to reverse opioid overdose and revive people who might have died without treatment. It is not addictive, and although it is only effective at reversing overdoses of opioid drugs like heroin or prescription painkillers, it is not harmful if administered to someone who has not taken opioids. 

For more information about naloxone or where to find it, visit To learn more about the Indiana State Department of Health, visit Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at