A review by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement found that the state has improved access to the overdose antidote naloxone in recent years.
Licensed pharmacists in Arkansas became authorized in 2017 to order, dispense, and administer naloxone, also commonly known by the brand name Narcan, to people without a prescription. Last year, the state began requiring prescribers to co-prescribe naloxone in certain situations, such as when a person has a high-dose opioid prescription that may place them at risk of an overdose.
ACHI studied naloxone and opioid prescriptions for Arkansans with Medicaid or commercial insurance from fiscal 2017 to 2021. During that time, opioid prescriptions fell 38.1% to 238,744 while naloxone prescriptions skyrocketed from 86 to 4,848.
"Our analysis shows that the percentage of Arkansans with high-dose opioid prescriptions who receive co-prescriptions for naloxone has increased every year since 2017," Dr. Joe Thompson, ACHI president and CEO, said in a news release.
The full report is available here.