Following the example of other states such as Maryland that have started to do so, a state drug task force has recommended making a legal change to allow over-the-counter sales of naloxone, an injectable drug that help to prevent overdose deaths.

The Prescription Drug and Opioid Task Force, established by Gov. Rick Snyder in June of this year in the face of an alarming spike in overdoses, wants to insure that naloxone is readily available in emergency situations for those who might need it.

The governor intends to address the task force’s recommendation on Monday at a press conference to be held at the Detroit Medical Center.

State health officials say that 99 opioid-related deaths were reported in Michigan in 1999 compared to 840 in 2013. Statistics are not yet available for 2014, but the number is expected to be even higher.

Naloxone can reverse the effects of heroin and other prescription pain-killing drug overdoses in mere seconds.

The current state laws do not prevent naloxone from being sold over-the-counter, but the laws also do not specifically permit it. Drug stores want the law to be more precise in its wording, so that they know they are legally protected in selling it.

Mike, DeAngelis, spokesman for CVS, said that naloxone will be sold over-the-counter in their chain in 20 states next year.

If companies need specific permission to offer the heroin antidote without a prescription, state Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, hopes to ensure they get that permission. A legislative leader on opiate-related issues and a member of the opioid abuse task force, Forlini said he will introduce legislation allowing naloxone sales in Michigan without a prescription.

Forlini believes opiate-related deaths are vastly underreported in Michigan, likely because families don’t want to be bear the shame.

“This is in every neighborhood. It’s in every family,” he said.

At a town hall meeting in West Virginia this week, President Barack Obama advocated for increased law enforcement use of naloxone.

In January, it became legal in Michigan for police agencies to carry and administer naloxone to counter suspected heroin overdoses, as paramedics have done for years. Not all have signed on, however. While deputies in Oakland and Macomb counties reportedly have saved more than two dozen lives as a result, Wayne County deputies, state police troopers and Detroit police officers do not carry naloxone, officials say.