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UK Training Ky. Pharmacists On Overdose Drug

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With 2015’s heroin bill granting pharmacists greater leeway in dispensing the anti-overdose drug naloxone, the challenge now shifts to the education front.

To bring those filling the orders up to speed, the Advancing Pharmacy Practice in Kentucky Coalition has created a training system that is being exported throughout the state via the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.

Included in the program are instructions for a new nasal spray version of naloxone developed by UK researcher Dan Wermeling. And while it’s still working its way through the FDA and probably won’t be available until early next year, he says the time to train is now.

"There's no reason to wait because we do have products and now with pharmacists being enabled, we can really access patients in all kinds of different venues, whether it's here in clinics, in the hospitals, in the emergency rooms, at retail pharmacies," he says.

But don't look for the drug on the shelves. Legislation only allows pharmacists to fill orders without a prescription when they're acting under a special physician-approved protocol.

Naloxone is a fast-acting medication that can be administered by family members or caregivers. So far 300 Kentucky pharmacists have been trained – with another 200 in the pipeline.

More than 1,000 Kentuckians died of overdoses in 2014.

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