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An Act for Prevention and Access to Appropriate Care and Treatment of Addiction (Chapter 208 of the Acts of 2018)
M.G.L. c. 94C
On August 9, 2018, Governor Baker signed into law chapter 208 of the acts of 2018, An Act for Prevention and Access to Appropriate Care and Treatment of Addiction. The law makes important strides in our work as a state to combat the opioid epidemic, including thorough updates to M.G.L. c. 94C section 19B to expand access to naloxone through a statewide standing order for this life-saving medication. The statewide standing order preserves the ability of pharmacies to dispense the opioid antagonist without a prescription to any person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, as well as by family members, friends or other persons in a position to assist individuals at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, while lifting the current requirement that each pharmacy in the Commonwealth have its own pharmacy-specific standing order for dispensing naloxone.
In the face of this ongoing opioid crisis, the Board, through collaboration with the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, has determined that, compared to the national average, all areas of Massachusetts experience high incidences of opioid-related overdoses or deaths thereby requiring all pharmacies to stock naloxone in accordance with M.G.L. c. 94C section 19C.
All retail pharmacies located in Massachusetts and licensed by the Board of Pharmacy must maintain a continuous, sufficient supply of naloxone rescue kits, or other approved opioid antagonist medication, to meet the needs of the community. Additionally, as required by M.G.L. c. 94C section 19B, each pharmacy must annually report the number of naloxone doses dispensed.
There is no limit to the amount of naloxone that may be dispensed to an individual. Massachusetts state law specifically allows for an individual to obtain naloxone with the intention to administer it to another person. A pharmacy may dispense naloxone either pursuant to a patient-specific prescription or via the statewide standing order.
A copy of the statewide standing order is attached to this Policy.