Unintentional drug overdose is now considered to be a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Administering naloxone hydrochloride (naloxone) can reverse an opioid overdose and prevent these unintentional deaths.

Each state makes its own law about who can prescribe drugs and what the standards and processes are for prescriptions. Legal issues are raised when prescribing a drug to someone who will administer it to a third party instead of themselves. Prescription law usually requires the patient to have a personal need for the drug, and in some places, it may be considered practicing medicine without a license if a layperson administers a prescription drug.

This LawAtlas map includes information on laws that authorize:  

  • formal overdose prevention programs
  • prescriptions to people who are not themselves at risk of overdose, but may be in contact with someone who is
  • possession and administration of naloxone by lay people.

This map is curated by Corey Davis, JD, MSPH, staff attorney for the Network for Public Health Law Southern Region.

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