PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's health department director has taken emergency steps to address an overdose crisis by making an overdose antidote more widely available, including to law enforcement agencies.

The emergency regulations adopted this month say expanded access to naloxone, or Narcan, has become "immediately necessary to save lives."

The regulations allow for naloxone to be prescribed not only to an individual experiencing an overdose or at risk of one, but to third parties including family members and friends. Police departments would be able to obtain and administer Narcan under a standing order from a prescriber.

Director Michael Fine wants all municipal police departments to carry Narcan. He said last month he was considering emergency regulations to help clear the way.

Rhode Island reported 55 overdose deaths this year through March 4.


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