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Lt. Gov. Calley: Naloxone available over the counter to reverse overdoses

Nearly 1,500 orders dispensed so far in 2018; 468 through standing order

Monday, May 7, 2018

LANSING, Mich. – Following the U.S. surgeon general’s recommendation that more Americans carry naloxone, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is reminding Michiganders about the state’s standing order for the potentially life-saving drug and urging them to be prepared.

“The addiction epidemic is affecting every community in our state and proactive efforts will help provide more second chances and fewer funerals,” Calley said. “Naloxone’s availability without a prescription may be the difference between life and death and I encourage more Michiganders to take advantage of the availability of this overdose antidote.” 

The standing order has been in effect since May 2017 and is part of the state’s strategy for addressing the opioid epidemic in Michigan. It allows registered pharmacies to dispense naloxone to those at risk of an opioid-related overdose, as well as family members, friends and other persons who may be able to assist a person at risk of overdose.

“The standing order is helping ensure naloxone is available when and where it is needed,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells. “I urge those who are at risk of an opioid-related overdose as well as their loved ones to utilize this standing order and be prepared to administer this potentially life-saving drug.”

During the first three months of 2018, pharmacies have dispensed 1,462 orders of naloxone, announced MDHHS. Of those, 468 orders were filled under a standing order, with the remaining 994 orders filled through prescriptions from other physicians.

Since May 2017, Michigan pharmacies have dispensed 7,154 orders of naloxone; 2,306 through the standing order and 4,848 through prescriptions from physicians.

More than 55 percent of the state’s 2,797 pharmacies with controlled substance licenses in Michigan are registered to dispense naloxone under the standing order for a total of 1,546. Pharmacies are required to track the amount of naloxone dispensed and report these numbers to MDHHS on a quarterly basis.


Similar to the rest of the nation, Michigan has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-related deaths. From 1999 to 2016, 7,300 people have died from an opioid overdose with more than 60 percent of those deaths occurring since 2010.

Previously, naloxone was available only to individuals who received a prescription from their doctor. In recent years, law enforcement and other first responders have increased their capacity to administer naloxone to address opioid overdoses – the majority which occur due to prescription painkillers, fentanyl and heroin. Through the standing order, individuals can receive naloxone from a registered pharmacy without a prescription.

People who obtain naloxone from pharmacies receive information on steps for responding to an opioid overdose and important information about where to go for further treatment.

The state is using every available tool to combat the opioid epidemic. The collaborative efforts of state agencies amplifies Michigan’s efforts related to prevention and treatment of patients, education of health professionals and enforcement of overprescribers. Efforts include:

  • Providing online resources for patients, health professionals and communities about prevention and treatment of opioid abuse;
  • The Michigan Automated Prescription System provides real-time prescription data and resources to better assess a patient’s risk for substance use disorder; 
  • Assistance with proper drug disposal of unwanted medications;
  • Michigan State Police posts serving as drug-take back sites and providing the Angel Program for individuals struggling with addiction;

These efforts are advised by the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission which is made up of health professionals, law enforcement officers, substance abuse treatment providers, government officials and citizens.

For more information about opioids and the additional steps residents can take to protect themselves and loved ones, visit

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