PDT Staff Writer
The House Health and Aging Committee this week passed House Bill 170 out of committee. House Bill 170, sponsored by State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) seeks to expand access to naloxone, a medication that reverses an opiate overdose almost instantly.
Johnson gained statewide recognition when he arrived in Columbus and immediately crafted a bill that would regulate pain clinics to the point that few, if any, could remain in operation. All nine pain clinics located in Scioto County closed, mainly as a result of House Bill 93, and teamwork by law enforcement and citizens who banded together to fight the facilities they dubbed “pill mills.”
“Naloxone has been used safely in emergency rooms for years,” Johnson said. “House Bill 93 did a great job of shutting down the pill mills, but with so many people still addicted and using heroin, we still need to treat the addicted population. For those who relapse and overdose, naloxone provides a second chance so they have another opportunity to overcome their addiction. This bill allows more people to use naloxone, and it will save lives.”
House Bill 170 authorizes people such as EMT-Basics, first responders, and law enforcement officers to carry naloxone and administer it to a person who is experiencing an overdose. It is administered through a squirt in the nose so that it can be used safely by non-medical professionals. The bill also allows a prescriber to personally furnish naloxone to a family or friend of a person who is at risk of overdosing so they can administer the naloxone and save the lives of their loved ones. The bill also requires that the person administering the naloxone must also call 911.
“If we are going to have any success in combating the drug problem, we need to approach it from all angles,” Johnson said. “This is a law enforcement issue, a medical treatment issue, an education issue, and a moral issue. Providing our community with tools like naloxone which will allow more of our brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, and friends to live to recover another day is an important piece of the puzzle.”
House Bill 170 passed out of committee unanimously and now awaits a vote before the entire House of Representatives.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.