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Legislation To Protect Those Who Administer Opiate Antidote

Heroin and prescription painkillers have been a serious problem all over the country for more than a decade. As the peak of prescription painkiller abuse peaked between 2008 and 2012, many abusers switched over to the cheaper more dangerous opiate, heroin. Fatal overdoses were reaching record numbers and many consider the opiate problem an epidemic. Drug overdoses now surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

An opioid-reversing drug known as Naloxone has been growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. Most importantly the medication works at reversing a deadly opiate overdose. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, has become the go-to medication for helping save lives all over the country. Many states now have first responders equipped with the medication that can be administrated with an intra-muscular shot or a nasal spray. Naloxone has been around since the 70's and has been used for reversing opioid overdoses in hospitals. Not only are abusers needing Naloxone but elderly patients who forget that they have already taken their medication are administered the drug to save their lives as well.

Now, legislation has been sponsored by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D. Springfield, that would give emergency first responders, volunteers and “good samaritans” more legal leeway to administer the overdose-reversing medication in life-threatening situations. "We want to be able to give relief to those who undertake the necessity of it," Neal said. "That's an argument that you can have down the road in a trial court as opposed to having it at that moment, and needing to apply it."

The legislation is known as “The Opioid Overdose Reduction Act of 2015" and would exempt from civil liability under certain conditions the emergency administration of overdose-reversing drugs by people who prescribe or are prescribed them.

The great thing about Naloxone is that It can either be injected or sprayed into a person's nose. The drug wears off in 20 to 90 minutes, and has no potential for abuse.

Fatal overdoses from opioid-based drugs like heroin have quadrupled nationally since 1999. Health care professionals, individuals who work or volunteer at opioid overdose programs, and police and other responders would be exempt from civil liability under certain circumstances, according to the legislation

In this day and age everyone is worried about being sued. When it comes to a life and death situation, it is necessary to not have any blurred lines. When everyone knows the rules and people are protected, they will not think twice about saving someone's life.


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