Naloxone Opinion From Attorney General

Naloxone Opinion From Attorney General

Last week Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued an official legal opinion clarifying that a new state law allows medical professionals to prescribe Naloxone – an antidote to an opioid or heroin overdose – to family members and others who provide care for those at risk of overdoses.

The legislation, dubbed Aaron’s Law, was authored by State Sen. Jim Merritt and passed by the Indiana Legislature during its 2015 session to help reduce overdose deaths.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can counteract the effects of an opioid or heroin overdose if administered in time.  Family members of persons suffering from such opioid or heroin addictions have expressed interest in having the overdose antidote prescribed in advance so it is readily available if needed.

Because of concern that uncertainty over how to interpret the new law has prevented medical professionals from more widely issuing Naloxone prescriptions, Sen. Merritt asked the Attorney General’s Office for a legal opinion on how the statute should be interpreted.

Zoeller’s opinion confirms that “Aaron’s Law” indeed does authorize prescribers to use standing orders to dispense Naloxone. They can dispense it to any individual or entity that may be in a position to assist a person experiencing an opioid-related overdose, such as a family member who provides care for the person at risk of overdose.  To be authorized, the standing order must contain:

  1. Instructions to summon emergency services immediately before or after administering the drug,
  2. Education and training on drug overdose response and treatment, including the administration of naloxone, and
  3. Information and referrals to drug addiction treatment and programs, including local programs that offer medication assisted treatment.

The Attorney General’s opinion also asserts that qualifying entities under the statute could include organizations such as community health centers, jails, counseling and recovery centers, and others.

The Attorney General’s Official Opinion and a chart detailing different paths to Naloxone as authorized by Aaron’s Law is available here. A sample Standing Order is available here. Read the full press release here.  

More information on the Task Force and the Attorney General’s efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse can be found at www.BitterPill.in.gov

Questions about prescribing Naloxone or any other aspect of pain & addiction management prescribing? We are happy to help. Contact us via email or call 317.237.4237