- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina becomes the third state to provide unlimited access to a prescription drug that’s already saved more than 2,000 people statewide who were overdosing on heroin, OxyContin or other opium-based drugs.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law Monday that creates a statewide standing order at all pharmacies to prescribe naloxone to anyone.

Supporters say the state health director’s order could help friends or family save a drug abuser’s life. The injection or nasal-spray is covered by Medicaid and many private insurance plans.

The director says the drug has reversed more than 2,000 overdoses since 2013.

McCrory has named heroin addiction a top public safety issue. In North Carolina, more than 1,000 people die yearly from prescription opioid and heroin overdoses.

Only Maryland and Pennsylvania have similar standing orders.

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