Naloxone Law in Washington

Washington State’s new “Naloxone Law” HB1671 goes into effect on July 24, 2015. This law expands access to naloxone by supporting more efficient distribution options.

What’s in this new law?

The law specifically allows naloxone to be:

  • prescribed directly to an “entity” such as a police department, homeless shelter or social service agency. This will allow an organization to have naloxone kits on site without a prescriber writing a prescription for individual staff persons.
  • distributed by non-medical providers (e.g., health educator, counselor, syringe exchange volunteer) under a prescriber’s standing order. Therefore, the prescriber (or pharmacist with a collaborative practice agreement to dispense naloxone) will not need to meet with each person to whom naloxone is distributed.

This law gives an official legal “green light” for any organization to have naloxone on site for its staff to administer directly in case of an overdose. This also allows staff to distribute naloxone to clients who are at risk of having or witnessing an overdose via one of the mechanisms above.

HB1671 in detail (.pdf)

What does this mean for my organization?
You may want to explore these new options for getting or distributing naloxone with a medical provider affiliated with your organization or with your county health officer. Which method you choose to pursue (prescribing to an entity or standing order) may depend on the needs of your organization.

How does a standing order for naloxone work?
A standing order for naloxone delegates authority from a prescriber (often a local health officer) to other people, such as non-medical staff or volunteers, to distribute naloxone according to a specific protocol without a physician’s exam. But this is the first time standing orders have been explicitly mentioned in state law.

Below is an example of the current standing order protocol currently used in Clark County to distribute naloxone:

Clark County Standing Order (.pdf)

Center for Opioid Safety Education If you need ideas or assistance on how to implement a naloxone program at your organization, the Center for Opioid Safety Education (COSE) is available to help answer your questions. You can reach us at: info@stopoverdose.org. We will post new information about the naloxone law is it becomes available along with tools and best practice models.

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