PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Board of Pharmacy meets this week to craft rules for pharmacies to begin dispensing the overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription.

The original bill to make naloxone available over the counter passed more than a year ago but languished until the pharmacy board told lawmakers last year that the law needed to be amended.

The amended bill became law last month without the signature of Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Pharmacy Board President Joseph Bruno says the lengthy delay is frustrating because the opioid epidemic has been worsening. Last year, 376 people died from overdoses in Maine.

Walgreens and CVS, two major chains that operate pharmacies in Maine, already offer naloxone without a prescription in other states.