On June 3, 2015, the South Carolina Overdose Prevention Act was enacted, authorizing first responders, such as law enforcement, firemen, and EMS personnel, to carry Naloxone and administer it to a person whom the first responder believed in good faith was experiencing an opioid overdose. Otherwise, Naloxone could only be dispensed by a pharmacist pursuant to a written prescription or a standing order from a licensed prescriber.
South Carolina Overdose Prevention Act
A year later, on June 5, 2016, in an effort to further reduce opioid-related deaths, an amendment to the Act, Bill H5193, became effective. This amendment allows a person at risk of experiencing an overdose or a caregiver for such a person to obtain Naloxone from a pharmacy without a prescription.
South Carolina’s Amendment to Allow Naloxone Without a Prescription
The Joint Protocol issued by the BME and BOP broadly defines who is “at risk” of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to include the following:
- Current illicit users or non-medical opioid users or persons with a history of such use
- Persons with a history of opioid intoxication or overdose and/or emergency medical care for acute opioid poisoning
- Persons with an opioid prescription
- Persons from an opioid detoxification and mandatory abstinence program
- Persons entering methadone maintenance treatment programs (for addiction or pain)
- Persons who may have difficulty accessing emergency medical services
The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners and the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy’s Joint Protocol to Initiate Dispensing of Naloxone HCI Without a Prescription
Naloxone saves lives by blocking the opioid’s effects. Not only is Naloxone safe, but it is also easy to use. The Joint Protocol permits a pharmacist to dispense Naloxone as either a nasal spray, the preferred method, or in liquid form that can be injected into the shoulder or thigh.