New Law Promises to Put Anti-Overdose Drug into More Hands
A new Missouri law makes it possible to get a drug to reverse an overdose without a prescription. The bill’s sponsor says two thirds of overdoses happen in the home.
Joplin ambulance crews have used naloxone thirty-two times already in 2016. It’s carried in every EMT’s bag and often called Narcan, but now Missouri is moving from first responders to the home.
Bill sponsor Rep. Steve Lynch says someone is nearby in eighty-five percent of overdoses.
Marlissa Diggs who is director of substance abuse prevention with the Alliance of Southwest Missouri agrees that it would be good for families of addicts. She said, “I spoke to a mom whose son agreed to go to treatment. She was elated he was going to go to treatment. It was the answer to their prayers. It had been a tough road for them. They had a good conversation. They were optimistic about the future. She went to wake him up the next morning to report to treatment and she found with a needle in his arm dead.”
Naloxone or narcan is administered through an IV by EMT’s but an intra nasal version or auto injector would be available without prescription in August. BHG treatment center officials dispense methadone to help addicts and say having access to naloxone is important.
Jason Bowers BHG Program director said, “Even in treatment there’s relapses. There’s always that potential there. So having more narcan out in peoples’ hands, that just creates more first responders because there’s not always gonna be an EMT present. If you’re 30 minutes from a hospital and somebody’s had an overdose, you’re probably not gonna get them there in time to save their life. Where, if you have narcan, that’s an option.”
A former addict staying at Broken Road Women’s Recovery House said, “Yes, I would want to be saved. My husband took something last year, they gave him bad stuff. That scared me to death.”
But Hope Holbert, a former meth addict, still fears some addicts will find a way to abuse it or take it for granted and thinks prescriptions should still be necessary.
Ems officials also have some reservations.
EMS Chief Jason Smith, of Joplin METS Ambulance said, “I don’t want it to give them a false hope that they’re gonna wake up and everything’s gonna be ok. I think even if they have these available to them, the most important thing is to still call 911 and make sure they have professional help.”
The kits used by METS ambulance cost about thirty dollars. Joplin police department says it’s looking into buying Narcan but it cost is a factor.
Capt. Bob Higginbotham said, “Like anything else, we’ll want to weigh the benefits and cost and the consideration we work so close with medical services. It may not be something we need to do.”
An essential drug on an ambulance. Available to those willing to buy it August 28 th , 2016
The new aw also offers legal protection to good Samaritans who administer naloxone believing someone is suffering an overdose.