Amid crisis, states expand access to opioid rescue drug
Thirty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws or developed pilot programs to widen access to naloxone.25 Mar 2015
With drug overdoses skyrocketing across the USA, a growing number of states are expanding access to a fast-acting rescue drug called naloxone, which can revive a dying addict in minutes.
But while these new laws have broad support in the public health community, some doctors and drug-treatment professionals say they are just Band-Aids for an overwhelming addiction problem requiring a much broader solution.
Thirty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws or developed pilot programs to widen access to naloxone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. These include Minnesota, where a law passed last year allows doctors to prescribe the drug to families and friends of opioid abusers so they can save the lives of loved ones.
Minnesota's legislation was authored by State Sen. Chris Eaton, whose 23-year-old daughter died of a heroin overdose in 2007 after shooting up in a car parked outside a Burger King. Eaton says Ariel Eaton-Willson might be alive today if someone had immediately injected her with the opioid antidote.
"By the time the ambulance got to the scene with naloxone," Eaton says, "it was too late." She says her personal tragedy reflects a national epidemic, and she supports efforts by states with naloxone laws already on the books to expand access even further.
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