Naloxone is a prescription-only opiate reversal drug. It’s a life saving measure for use with those who have overdosed on heroin, morphine, or other opiates. If you’ve ever heard of someone being “Narcanned” they were administered an emergency dose of this drug by doctors, law enforcement or EMTs.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that overdose deaths have skyrocketed in the U.S. – up 102% from 1999-2010. Prescription opiates and heroin constitute the majority of deaths due to overdose.
The Food and Drug Administration approved use of Naloxone in 1971. It’s not addictive and not a substance that can be recreationally abused. It’s not even toxic. It’s cheap by any standard – even without consideration of the cost of human life.
Massachusetts and 14 other states have approved legislation that increases distribution, legal possession, and freedom from liability for administration of Naloxone. Some states have limited these rights to professionals while others have further expanded to allow family members to be trained in proper administration. Maine has not yet joined these states.
Expanding use of this medication is a common sense measurethat will reduce deaths in our state. A public hearing for LD1686 is scheduledfor Wednesday February 5th. I urge everyone to contact their legislators in support of this measure.
LD1686 seeks to:
Make grants from existing resources for:
A. Drug overdose prevention, recognition and response education projects;
B. Drug overdose prevention, recognition and response training projects for patients receiving opioids and their families and caregivers;
C. Naloxone hydrochloride prescription or distribution projects; and
D. Education and training projects on drug overdose response and treatment for emergency services and law enforcement personnel, including, but not limited to, volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency services personnel.
The department’s office of substance abuse and mental health services shall ascertain and document and publish an annual report on the number of and trends, patterns and risk factors related to unintentional drug overdose fatalities occurring within the State each year. The report must also provide information on interventions that would be effective in reducing the rate of fatal and nonfatal unintentional drug overdose.