Skip to Content
The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 19B: Dispensing, possessing and administrating opioid antagonist

Section 19B. (a) As used in this section and unless the context clearly requires otherwise, ''opioid antagonist'' shall mean naloxone or any other drug approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration as a competitive narcotic antagonist used in the reversal of overdoses caused by opioids.

(b) The department shall ensure that a statewide standing order is issued to authorize the dispensing of an opioid antagonist in the commonwealth by any licensed pharmacist. The statewide standing order shall include, but not be limited to, written, standardized procedures or protocols for the dispensing of an opioid antagonist by a licensed pharmacist. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner, or a physician who is designated by the commissioner and is registered to distribute or dispense a controlled substance in the course of professional practice under section 7, may issue a statewide standing order that may be used for a licensed pharmacist to dispense an opioid antagonist under this section.

(c) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a licensed pharmacist may dispense an opioid antagonist in accordance with the statewide standing order issued under subsection (b). Except for an act of gross negligence or willful misconduct, a pharmacist who, acting in good faith, dispenses an opioid antagonist shall not be subject to any criminal or civil liability or any professional disciplinary action by the board of registration in pharmacy related to the use or administration of an opioid antagonist.

(d) A pharmacist who dispenses an opioid antagonist shall annually report to the department the number of opioid antagonist doses dispensed. Reports shall not identify an individual patient, shall be confidential and shall not constitute a public record as defined in clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4. The department shall publish an annual report that includes aggregate information about the dispensing of opioid antagonists in the commonwealth.

(e) A pharmacist or designee who dispenses an opioid antagonist pursuant to this section shall, for the purposes of health insurance billing and cost-sharing, treat the transaction as the dispensing of a prescription to the person purchasing the opioid antagonist regardless of the ultimate user of the opioid antagonist. Unless the person purchasing the opioid antagonist requests to pay for the prescription out-of-pocket, the pharmacist or designee shall make a reasonable effort to identify the purchaser's insurance coverage and to submit a claim for the opioid antagonist to the insurance carrier prior to dispensing the opioid antagonist.

(f) Except for an act of gross negligence or willful misconduct, the commissioner or a physician who issues the statewide standing order under subsection (b) and any practitioner who, acting in good faith, directly or through the standing order, prescribes or dispenses an opioid antagonist shall not be subject to any criminal or civil liability or any professional disciplinary action.

(g) A person acting in good faith may receive a prescription for an opioid antagonist, possess an opioid antagonist and administer an opioid antagonist to an individual appearing to experience an opioid-related overdose. A person who, acting in good faith, administers an opioid antagonist to an individual appearing to experience an opioid-related overdose shall not, as a result of the person's acts or omissions, be subject to any criminal or civil liability or any professional disciplinary action. The immunity established under section 34A shall also apply to a person administering an opioid antagonist pursuant to this section.

(h) The department, the board of registration in medicine and the board of registration in pharmacy shall adopt regulations to implement this section.