Naloxone Access Laws: What do we know about Kentucky?

Elham Erfanian, PhD
Released May 2020

The mental, physical and economic health stresses of COVID-19 on individuals, communities and health care systems are creating strain on substance use disorder prevention and treatment. At the moment, our media attention is very much fixed on the evolving pandemic, and not as focused on the opioid crisis that continues to affect the lives of many Kentuckians.

Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a medication called an “opioid antagonist” used to counter the effects of opioid overdose, for example morphine and heroin overdose. Naloxone is considered a harm reduction strategy, along with needle exchange programs, syringe services programs, behavioral health counseling, and other related public health strategies. Harm reduction strategies are long-standing, evidence-based tools that keep people and communities safe.

Both access to naloxone and administration of naloxone by healthcare professionals and laypersons in Kentucky, and what legal frameworks are in place for those who administer naloxone, is important for community leaders and members to understand.