We had the honor to witness Governor Mike Parson of Missouri sign House Bill No 2162 into law. Missouri joins as one of a few forward-thinking states giving more treatment options to patients and their families through community pharmacies. This law puts the two opioid antagonist medications, naloxone, and naltrexone, on par. Naloxone and naltrexone are complementary medications. Naloxone reverses opioid overdoses while naltrexone prevents opioid overdoses. This bill gives the department of health and senior services to issue a statewide standing order for naltrexone tablets. Patients at risk of using opioids can now go to a pharmacy and obtain a supply of naltrexone pills without a prescription as a bridge to seeing a treatment provider. The widespread availability of fentanyl demands robust prevention strategies. For the first time, patients have a safe, non-opioid medication, naltrexone, to prevent accidental opioid overdoses.
We must continue to educate patients, their families, treatment providers, and peer support specialists on the pharmacology of naltrexone and how to use this medication to prevent opioid overdoses. The belief that widespread availability of Naltrexone could be a reality was the vision articulated by Percy Menzies and Dr. Fred Rottnek and may well be a significant turning point in the battle against the opioid epidemic killing over 100,000 people a year.