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Pharmacy Naloxone Distribution: Assessing a New Tool to Reduce Overdose Mortality

Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in the United States, and opioids account for more than half of drug overdose deaths. Naloxone is a prescription drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. This study will assess the implementation of a novel Massachusetts program designed to expand naloxone access by allowing community pharmacies to dispense the drug under standing orders from a licensed physician.

The study will examine barriers and facilitators to program implementation from the perspectives of pharmacists, illicit opioid users, and potential overdose bystanders. It will also assess the impact of the program on opioid overdose mortality rates. Our findings will provide valuable information for the growing number of states that are considering and/or currently implementing similar naloxone standing order programs in an effort to reduce the growing public health burden of opioid overdose.

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