Senate staff discovered pharmacies required to carry lifesaving naloxone were out of compliance with state law.

BOSTON- Senator Collins has filed legislation to address the accessibility concerns regarding naloxone nasal spray, otherwise known as Narcan, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication.

An Act preventing overdoses in the commonwealth- S. 2555- would require a retail pharmacy licenses pursuant to section 39 to notify the Department of Public Health if their supply of naloxone nasal spray is insufficient.

After his Chief of Staff Haley (Dillon) Walsh had an encounter with an emotionally disturbed person (EDP) struggling with addiction out of the State House, she attempted to access Narcan at a local pharmacy but to no avail. Research done by Sen. Collins staff confirmed that none of the pharmacies in the area carried Narcan for purchase by consumers. State law requires that all licensed pharmacies carry naloxone in sufficient supply and available for consumers to purchase.

“The opioid epidemic has reached alarming levels, and access to Narcan is essential in saving lives,” said Sen. Collins. “However, issues with availability and access have been a cause for concern, with many individuals facing challenges in obtaining this life-saving medication. The proposed legislation aims to address these issues by ensuring that all licensed pharmacies across the Commonwealth are proactively notifying the Department of Health when their supply of naloxone is insufficient.”

According to a Boston Globe survey of more than 60 pharmacies statewide, large chain pharmacies often do not have Narcan in stock or have it inaccessible for customers to plainly access. Many of the drug stores that did not have Narcan said they carried a generic version, though only behind the counter. The study, conducted in late December, found that:

• 22 of 70 independent and chain pharmacies did not have the nasal spray in stock.

• 33 of the pharmacies surveyed said they kept Narcan behind the counter, in violation of state guidelines.

• 4 of 15 independent pharmacies had Narcan on hand and could immediately sell it over the counter.

This bill is currently being considered by the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery.

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