90-12.7. Treatment of overdose with opioid antagonist; immunity.

(a) As used in this section, "opioid antagonist" means naloxone hydrochloride that is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of a drug overdose.

(b) The following individuals may prescribe an opioid antagonist in the manner prescribed by this subsection:

(1) A practitioner acting in good faith and exercising reasonable care may directly or by standing order prescribe an opioid antagonist to (i) a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose or (ii) a family member, friend, or other person in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose. As an indicator of good faith, the practitioner, prior to prescribing an opioid under this subsection, may require receipt of a written communication that provides a factual basis for a reasonable conclusion as to either of the following:

a. The person seeking the opioid antagonist is at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose.

b. The person other than the person who is at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose, and who is seeking the opioid antagonist, is in relation to the person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose:

1. A family member, friend, or other person.

2. In the position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose.

(2) The State Health Director or a designee may prescribe an opioid antagonist pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection by means of a statewide standing order.

(3) A practitioner acting in good faith and exercising reasonable care may directly or by standing order prescribe an opioid antagonist to any governmental or nongovernmental organization, including a local health department, a law enforcement agency, or an organization that promotes scientifically proven ways of mitigating health risks associated with substance use disorders and other high-risk behaviors, for the purpose of distributing, through its agents, the opioid antagonist to (i) a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose or (ii) a family member, friend, or other person in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose.

(c) A pharmacist may dispense an opioid antagonist to a person or organization pursuant to a prescription issued in accordance with subsection (b) of this section. For purposes of this section, the term "pharmacist" is as defined in G.S. 90-85.3.

(c1) A governmental or nongovernmental organization, including a local health department, a law enforcement agency, or an organization that promotes scientifically proven ways of mitigating health risks associated with substance use disorders and other high-risk behaviors may, through its agents, distribute an opioid antagonist obtained pursuant to a prescription issued in accordance with subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of this section to (i) a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose or (ii) a family member, friend, or other person in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose. An organization, through its agents, shall include with any distribution of an opioid antagonist pursuant to this subsection basic instruction and information on how to administer the opioid antagonist.

(d) A person who receives an opioid antagonist that was prescribed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section or distributed pursuant to subsection (c1) of this section may administer an opioid antagonist to another person if (i) the person has a good faith belief that the other person is experiencing a drug-related overdose and (ii) the person exercises reasonable care in administering the drug to the other person. Evidence of the use of reasonable care in administering the drug shall include the receipt of basic instruction and information on how to administer the opioid antagonist.

(e) All of the following individuals are immune from any civil or criminal liability for actions authorized by this section:

(1) Any practitioner who prescribes an opioid antagonist pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(2) Any pharmacist who dispenses an opioid antagonist pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(3) Any person who administers an opioid antagonist pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(4) The State Health Director acting pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(5) Any organization, or agent of the organization, that distributes an opioid antagonist pursuant to subsection (c1) of this section. (2013-23, s. 2; 2015-94, s. 3; 2016-17, s. 2; 2017-74, s. 2; 2017-102, ss. 37(a), (b).)