Illinois pharmacists to dispense heroin overdose antidote

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  — Trained pharmacists in Illinois soon will be able to dispense the overdose reversal drug naloxone without a prescription.

Regulators announced Monday that a short web-based training program is available to pharmacists who want to help reduce deaths from heroin and painkillers.

The change results from a state law passed last year. The legislation allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone kits to people at risk of overdose, their family members and friends, first responders and school nurses.

Naloxone is also known by the brand name Narcan. It can be given by injection or as a nasal spray and does not create a high or have major side effects. It can reverse potentially fatal overdoses from opioid painkillers and heroin. In 2014, Illinois experienced more than 1,700 deaths from such overdoses.