AUSTIN — Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, law
enforcement agencies in Texas are authorized to receive prescriptions of
an opioid antagonist — commonly the drug naloxone — that officers can
use to treat opioid overdoses and protect themselves, Attorney General
Ken Paxton said in a written opinion released Wednesday.
Denton, University of North Texas Police Department officers and Denton
Fire Department medical technicians typically stock naloxone to treat
opioid overdose victims.
In 2015, the Legislature passed Senate
Bill 1462, which permits the prescription and dispensing of an opioid
antagonist to persons at risk of experiencing an overdose, along with
any person in a position to assist in an overdose emergency. The Texas
Medical Board asked Paxton to determine if law enforcement agencies
qualify for the prescriptions.
"With regard to distributing an
opioid antagonist, the statute provides that a 'person or organization
acting under a standing order [for a prescription] ... may distribute an
opioid antagonist.' Thus, the Legislature made clear its intent that
the law authorizes both individuals and law enforcement agencies to
obtain opioid antagonists by prescription," Paxton concluded.
More than 1,200 law enforcement agencies nationwide
carry naloxone, which can save the life of someone who has overdosed on
painkillers, heroin or other opioid drugs as well as cure an officer's
overexposure when responding to a call. The medical effect of naloxone,
which is usually administered as a nasal spray or by auto-injector, has
been likened to resurrecting someone from the dead.
of law enforcement agencies outside Texas leave no question about the
ability of law enforcement agencies to assist a person experiencing an
opioid overdose," Paxton wrote.