As we already know, there is no one way to fight the heroin epidemic. We must use multiple tools to prevent the senseless deaths caused by heroin and other opioid overdose. A new tool is offered by the state of New Mexico. They already are forward thinking by allowing pharmacists to prescribe a limited selection of prescription drugs, but now they have added probably the most immediate life saving drug to the pharmacists formulary.
In this day and age of overworked doctors, an alternative to seeing a capable health care professional has been demanded. We have had advance practice nurses (APN) and nurse practitioners (NP) who have had the ability to prescribe and relieve some of the burden of over worked MD’s for some time now. Now, in some states that think outside the box (sorry, Ohio, not you), we are allowing pharmacists to step up and help the cause.
As a pharmacist, drug counselor. attorney and recovering opioid addict, I know only too well, the plight of addicts who need any avenue of assistance that can help them survive this disease. We need more treatment beds, better sentencing laws with a focus on drug courts (70% of all crimes are related to substance abuse), medical assisted treatment (Suboxone, methadone, Vivitrol etc), drug education and prevention and of course, the last ditch effort: naloxone in a nasal applicator or IM injection to prevent an overdose.
New Mexico, I applaud you! Naloxone should be on every wall next to a AED defibrillator. It saves lives and can’t hurt anyone who comes in contact with it, as it has no side effects or adverse consequences. After all, we have fire extinguishers everywhere, but we rarely use them. Look at naloxone as the fire extinguisher that that can save your loved ones life.