Law enforcement officials authorized to receive naloxone to treat opioid overdoses
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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.

In 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.

"Experiences 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.

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