Naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose, is crucial to fighting the opioid epidemic. Current state policies such as the Good Samaritan law and the collaborative practice agreement permit doctors and pharmacists to distribute naloxone (often in the nasal spray version known as Narcan) to the public on standing orders, with or without a prescription. This means that anyone who is or knows anyone at risk of an overdose can legally acquire this medication, and they are protected from civil liability if they administer it to someone they reasonably believe has experienced an overdose. However, due to production shortages, increasing costs, stigma, and other factors, naloxone is not always as easy to obtain as might be expected.



Naloxone Access

Naloxone is a life-saving opioid antagonist that can reverse an opioid overdose. Tennessee law makes it available to anyone with or without a prescription and protects from civil suit any physician who prescribes it, and any bystander who administers it to those who they believe are experiencing an overdose. Production delays, among other factors, have led to a nationwide shortage of naloxone. This has increased the urgency of improving naloxone distribution policies.

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February 2022


Youth Prevention SMART Team

Jeremy Kourvelas
Jeremy Kourvelas
SMART Policy Network Graduate Research Assistant
UT Knoxville Master of Public Health student


Jennifer Tourville
Jennifer Tourville, DNP
Director of Substance Misuse Outreach and Initiatives, UT System
Clinical Assistant Professor, UT Knoxville College of Nursing


Bill Lyons
Bill Lyons, PhD
Director of Policy Partnerships
UT Knoxville Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy