COLUMBUS: The state pharmacy board says 1,000 Ohio pharmacies, or about 47 percent of them, now offer the overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription.

Expanding access to it has been a major part of Ohioís strategy to curb the increasing overdoses and deaths attributed to heroin and stronger drugs, such as fentanyl.

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, can be administered before emergency responders arrive. It isnít harmful if the recipient hasnít actually overdosed on heroin or similar drugs.

Gov. John Kasich signed a law last year enabling pharmacies to distribute the reversal drug to an at-risk opioid user or a userís relative or friend without a prescription.

The Board of Pharmacy said Monday that 79 of Ohioís 88 counties now have at least one of those pharmacies.