Orange County, N.C. — Officials with the Orange County Health Department said Wednesday that the agency will become the first in the state to issue a standing order for Narcan, a life-saving drug that reverses overdoses from heroin, hydrocodone and other opiates.
The standing order for Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, will take effect in December. Under the new policy, medical providers at the health department will screen patients to determine if they or someone they know uses opiates. If so, the provider will discuss the safe use of opiates, train them to administer Narcan and provide access to the medication.
Officials said the standing order is aimed at reducing the number of deaths from opiate overdoses. According to state statistics, deaths from overdoses in North Carolina have increased 300 percent since 1999.
“We know that screening patients and increasing access to naloxone is an effective and inexpensive way to save lives, and we hope it will help people get connected to additional resources to help themselves or people they know,” Orange County Health Director Dr. Colleen Bridger said in a statement.
The North Carolina General Assembly passed a law this year allowing doctors to prescribe Narcan by standing order and for a person who is prescribed Narcan to administer it to someone who is experiencing an overdose. Under the law, a doctor can prescribe the medication to anyone at risk of opiate overdose, as well as that person’s family and friends.