Giving Compass' Take:

· A new RAND Corporation study shows the benefits of allowing pharmacists to administer naloxone, the opioid antidote, without a physician's prescription. States that have already adopted this law have shown its effectiveness, reducing the number of fatal overdoses by an average of 27 percent.

· What are some concerns with making naloxone more accessible? How can donors make a difference when it comes to the opioid crisis?

· Here's more on the opioid epidemic and expanding access to naloxone.

Allowing pharmacists to dispense the opioid antidote naloxone without a physician's prescription can sharply reduce the incidence of fatal opioid-related overdoses, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

States that adopted such laws saw fatal opioid overdoses fall by an average of 27 percent during the second year following passage and 34 percent in subsequent years, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers found that laws that encourage the distribution of naloxone—but stop short of allowing direct dispensing by pharmacists—did little to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths.

“This is strong evidence that greater use of naloxone can help reduce opioid-related deaths,” said David Powell, a study co-author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “But how laws are structured to increase naloxone use is important. Weaker laws that do not give pharmacists direct dispensing authority did not curb opioid deaths.”

Read the full article about curbing the effects of opioid abuse at RAND Corporation.