This past summer, Gov. Pat McCrory signed Senate Bill 734, authorizing a statewide standing order for naloxone, meaning anyone in the state can purchase the drug without prescription. Naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan, reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and works within minutes of injection. It is an opioid antagonist and does not hurt the body if a person has not overdosed.
“It’s not so much to the people being affected by the drug because you can imagine if they’ve overdosed, then they can’t save themselves,” said Williams. “It’s really for their loved ones and those around them, their friends, co-workers, family. We’ve heard, anecdotally, stories of 14-year-olds getting it so they can save their 18-year-old brother’s life if he overdoses while he’s at home.”The governor’s action follows a 2013 order that made naloxone available to law enforcement officers to carry. Just in late November, the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC), a statewide nonprofit dedicated to reducing drug overdose deaths, reported there have been more than 5,000 drug overdose reversals using naloxone.In addition, McCrory signed a 911 Good Samaritan law. This gives some immunity to individuals who call for help during an overdose situation. If police respond to a 911 emergency where there are small amounts of drugs or paraphernalia, the users in that house will not be charged with a crime. This has freed up users to call for help without fear of criminal prosecution.