Intervention Laws

  • Overdose and Naloxone

    A Safe and Effective Medicine

    Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan®, is a safe and effective medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose. It is most often injected into a person experiencing an overdose. It attaches to the same parts of the brain that receive heroin and other opioids, and it blocks the opioids for 30-90 minutes to reverse the respiratory depression that would otherwise lead to death from overdose.


    KyHRC, Naloxone in Kentucky

Good Samaritan Laws encourage bystanders to become “Good Samaritans” by summoning emergency responders without fear of arrest or other negative legal consequences.

Below is comprehensive information on intervention laws that will help guide you.



    • Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 217.186; 201 Ky. Admin. Regs. 2:360
    • A prescriber may prescribe, either directly or by standing order, and give out naloxone to a person or agency who the prescriber believes can administer naloxone in an overdose emergency. The prescription may also authorize another person to administer the drug to the person to whom it is prescribed, if that person also calls for help. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 217.186 (1); (2).
    • A pharmacist with a special certification may give out naloxone according to a physician-approved protocol authorizing them to do so. They may give naloxone to a person or agency that trains the public to administer naloxone. 201 Ky. Admin. Regs. 2:360.
    • Prescribers and pharmacists are immune from professional disciplinary action for prescribing or dispensing naloxone as permitted by the law. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 217.186 (1).
    • Schools may keep naloxone on the property to be used in an overdose emergency if the school board permits. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 217.186 (6).
    • Any person acting in good faith who administers naloxone they lawfully obtained is immune from criminal and civil liability, except in the case of gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 217.186 (4).


    • Kentucky has a state protocol in place of a standing order, which is for pharmacists who do not have a medical provider to issue them a protocol.
    • Allows pharmacists to distribute to the following categories of people:
      • Persons with a history of receiving care for overdose
      • Persons with suspected history of nonmedical opioid use
      • Persons on high-dose opioid prescriptions
      • Person who are receiving their first methadone prescription for pain (opioid-naïve)
      • Persons starting on buprenorphine or methadone for SUD treatment
      • Persons on opioid prescriptions for pain in conjunction with certain other illnesses or prescriptions
      • Persons who may have difficulty calling for medical help
      • Any person or agency who voluntary requests naloxone.
    • Allows intranasal naloxone (like Narcan) or auto-injector naloxone (like Evzio) only.


    • Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 218A.133
    • Anyone who in good faith calls for help for themselves, or helps another person call for help, or calls for help for another person experiencing a drug overdose cannot be charged or prosecuted for possession of controlled substance or possession of drug paraphernalia, if the evidence for the charge was discovered because they called for help, but only if they remain with the person in need of help.
    • This protection also applies to the person who overdosed.

Source: NEXTDistro, and Network of Public Health Law. Policies — NEXT Distro.

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