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Medical Services Division

North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a standing order making the life-saving drug naloxone available at no cost to North Dakota (ND) Medicaid members. Naloxone is a medication used to block or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The statewide standing order allows ND Medicaid enrolled pharmacies to dispense over-the-counter naloxone products at no cost to Medicaid members. The standing order will be used by the enrolled pharmacy to submit a claim for reimbursement to ND Medicaid. Pharmacies are required to comply with counseling requirements and follow the legal requirements for prescriptions, labeling and recordkeeping.

“Naloxone is a critical tool in addressing the overdose epidemic,” said HHS Medical Services Division Director Sarah Aker. “Making this lifesaving medication available at no cost means more Medicaid members will have a meaningful chance to receive services and supports to improve their health and well-being.”

HHS worked in partnership with the ND Board on Pharmacy to create the standing order, which is in effect for one year and must be renewed annually. The agency has sent correspondence to all enrolled pharmacies with instructions on how to use the standing order to provide this life-saving medication to ND Medicaid members.

Agency data shows, ND Medicaid has paid for over 200 prescriptions of naloxone in a three-month period.

“By working together and focusing on prevention, treatment and recovery, we can continue to address the opioid crisis,” said Behavioral Health Executive Director Pamela Sagness. “Increasing access to naloxone for Medicaid members is a step in the right direction.”

Recognizing the signs and symptoms 
An overdose requires immediate medical attention. Individuals who show these signs and symptoms may be experiencing a drug overdose:

  • Unresponsive and/or heartbeat or breathing is slow or has stopped,
  • Body is limp and fingernails or lips have a blue tinge, and
  • Individual is vomiting or making gurgling noises.

If an individual observes these signs and symptoms in someone, they should call 911 immediately and administer naloxone if available.

Resources to save lives
The agency’s Behavioral Health Division offers additional resources on effective overdose prevention, including the ability to request a two-dose naloxone kit at no cost. Visit hhs.nd.gov/opioids or call (701) 328-8920, 711 (TTY) to learn more. Naloxone is also available through many North Dakota public health units or primary care providers.

Treatment options 
Various treatment options are available for individuals with a substance use disorder including HHS’ eight regional human service centers, four licensed opioid treatment programs and other private providers. Find a North Dakota treatment provider at hhs.nd.gov/behavioral-health/find-services.

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