HANNON INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO INCREASE ACCESS TO NALOXONE
Drug antidote can prevent accidental overdose deaths
New York State Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau) introduced legislation (Senate bill 6477) to increase access to Naloxone, the drug-overdose antidote. If timely administered, Naloxone can prevent an overdose death. “It is simple,” said Senator Hannon, “ensuring drug abusers, their family and friends can access Naloxone will save lives.”
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) agrees. “Drug overdoses are completely preventable and too many families on Long Island and statewide are losing a race against time as they struggle to find help for their addicted loved ones. Too many young people never make it through the doors of a treatment center.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that every 19 minutes, one person dies from an accidental overdose from prescription drug abuse. In an effort to curb this prescription drug crisis, the legislature enacted the seminal I-STOP legislation in 2012. Due to the success of I-STOP, street access to controlled substances has decline. One unfortunate side effect of this is that drug abusers are turning to other drugs such as heroin, as now the cheaper alternative to prescription drugs.
In 2011, the state enacted good Samaritan protections for witnesses and victims of overdoses. By removing the threat of prosecution, this measure encourages witnesses of an overdose to call 911 before it becomes deadly. “It has been estimated that heroin addiction on Long Island has increased nearly fourfold since 2011. This alarming statistic demonstrates the need for a comprehensive approach to addressing the state’s drug crisis. Ensuring families have access to Naloxone is the next necessary step” said Hannon.
“Overdose prevention programs on Long Island are reaching only a fraction of those who need access to this life-saving drug and in face of a burgeoning opiate crisis, we should be using every tool at our disposal to keep people alive, treat their disease and help them down a path of recovery,” said Reynolds. “We at LICADD commend Senator Hannon for his continued commitment to public health and thoughtful, pragmatic leadership.”
Naloxone, which has no effect on individuals that do not have opioids in their system, is currently available in Nassau County and Suffolk County through EMT programs. In Nassau County EMTs administer Naloxone through their police department’s ambulance service. “Current programs equipping EMTs with Naloxone have proven successful, but more can be done. We have parents in line for Naloxone training programs, but not enough health care practitioners prescribing Naloxone to meet the demand” said Hannon.
legislation would address this by allowing authorized health care professionals
to issue non-patient specific orders to
certified training programs, who could then distribute the Naloxone kits to individuals
upon completion of the training program. “I don’t see a downside here, giving people
access to Naloxone will enable them to save their loved ones from tragic accidental