Last week, the California Department of Public Health (DPH) issued a statewide standing order for naloxone, the emergency antidote that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Issued by agency Director Dr. Karen Smith, the order functions as a standing prescription that enables all California organizations that work to reduce or manage drug addiction — such as sober living facilities, needle exchange programs and residential treatment centers — to distribute naloxone to patients and members of the community. The facilities would no longer have to get a prescription from an individual doctor.
Under the state order, Dr. Smith would now serve as the prescribing physician for naloxone. All facilities must apply to the California Department of Public Health to receive the order The order does not, however, address how naloxone is paid for. Needle exchanges and other harm reduction programs obtain naloxone many different ways; some buy it, and some receive it from public health departments that paid for it with local or state dollars. Applications can be submitted through the DPH’s website: