Laws that allow pharmacists to dispense the opioid antidote naloxone without a physician’s prescription are associated with a sharp reduction in fatal opioid-related overdoses, according to a study reported yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine. States that adopted such laws saw fatal opioid overdoses fall by an average of 27 percent during the second year following passage and 34 percent in subsequent years, the study found. They also saw an average 15 percent increase in nonfatal opioid-related emergency department visits relative to other states, though it was unclear what triggered the increase, the authors said.

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