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Indiana pharmacies stocking and dispensing more naloxone
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Indiana pharmacies stocking and dispensing more naloxone

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Indiana pharmacies stocking and dispensing more naloxone

This container of Narcan nasal spray contains Naloxone, which can treat an opioid emergency or possible opioid overdose. Indiana pharmacies are stocking and dispensing more naloxone, according to a new study.

Despite a slow start, Indiana pharmacies have been stocking and dispensing more naloxone after a 2016 law that allowed the overdose-reversing drug to be distributed more widely in response to the national opioid crisis, according to a new study by Indiana University researchers.

"When we first surveyed managing pharmacists in 2016, soon after the statewide standing order, we were surprised by how few community pharmacies were stocking and dispensing naloxone," said Jon Agley, deputy director of research at Prevention Insights, an addiction research center based at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and an associate professor in the school. "But in 2018 — pretty close to two years after that standing order — we found substantial increases in both stocking and dispensing. This is great news considering naloxone can save lives."

The study that was published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found Hoosier pharmacies stock 57% more naloxone than they did in 2016. Dispensing the overdose reversal medication rose from 23% in 2016 to 76% in 2018.

Agley said the rate eventually increased after large corporate chains implemented changes, such as training staff to dispense the overdose-reversing drug.

"Stocking and dispensing of naloxone is really the first piece of a broader puzzle," Agley said. "Pharmacies need to have naloxone on hand, and they need to be willing and able to dispense it. The community also needs to know they can receive it and feel comfortable asking for it."

IU's research team is now working with pharmacists and pharmacies to develop new ways to encourage people in need to obtain naloxone at pharmacies across the state.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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