Dispensing of Naloxone to First Responders

Emergency Order in Florida Allows Dispensing of Naloxone to First Responders (Executive Order 17-146):

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued an Emergency Order yesterday in response to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) which declared a national opioid epidemic throughout the United States. Coincidentally, the Florida Surgeon General (Dr. Celeste Philip) also declared the opioid epidemic in Florida as a public health emergency. Basically the Florida order (Executive Order 17-146) allows pharmacists in Florida to dispense naloxone to emergency responders for situations where a patient shows or exhibits signs of an opioid overdose. This includes police, all law enforcement personnel, paramedics, firemen and related emergency medical technicians. Obviously the pharmacist must be working in Florida and have an active pharmacy license, but additionally the pharmacy has to “maintain” a copy of the Naloxone Standing Order in order to be compliant. <Click here for the link if you wish to download a copy now: Naloxone Standing Order>

The Timing of the Emergency Order –

This emergency order is a step forward in the national battle in what the CDC called the “opioid epidemic”, but many view the timing with “raised eyebrows”. In Florida, first responders have administered naloxone for years. As reported back in July of 2016, the Florida Legislature had already approved a measure allowing for patients and their families to quickly get naloxone from a pharmacy without a prescription. Both the auto-injector or intranasal version of naloxone have been available if the pharmacy receives a so-called blanket “standing order” from a doctor.
It is important to take note that now that the emergency order (Executive Order 17-146) is signed, Florida can immediately get over $27 million dollars from HHS (the United States Department of Health and Human Services). This is because back on April 21st, Florida was awarded the money as a federal grant (known as the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant) by HHS in an attempt to take action against the opioid epidemic. Under SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) guidelines, the grant funding is “to provide prevention, treatment and recovery support services”.
The point is that this emergency order is a necessary step in the right direction in the ongoing fight against the “opioid epidemic” by Florida’s governor. Yet many are questioning why it took so long for the emergency order to be issued and if the HHS funding was not awarded, would the order have still been signed.

What Should You Do –

As is always the case with all new legislation, several questions always arise that need to be addressed. In this particular case there is the question regarding what documentation does the order require the pharmacy to create and keep. Should a pharmacist create a prescription and maintain an inventory documentation file? Awaiting the Department of Health to provide instructions, the FPA has recommended that all pharmacists create a profile in their dispensing system for any requests for naloxone and to document any dispensing activity. It is also important to note that by law emergency orders such as this are in effect for 60 days from the date issued unless extended.
As always, develop a new policy and procedure for handling the emergency order (Executive Order 17-146) and update your pharmacy’s  Policies and Procedures manual. Then educate your staff on how to implement and follow them.

Please contact us here at HCC if you have any questions regarding Executive Order 17-146. With over 27 years in the Pharmacy Consulting business, HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing can assist you with expert advice in any area of your pharmacy business or practice. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all Pharmacy settings. Contact us online or call us today at 800-642-1652 to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help you.

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