New Bill Aims to Expand Naloxone Distribution to Fight Opioid Overdose Deaths

Naloxone, commonly known as its brand name Narcan, is an antidote to opioid overdose.
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A new report out of the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office has found that the 513 heroin-related overdose deaths in 2016 so far would have been double that amount if naloxone had not been available.

The new bill passed by the General Assembly last week focuses partly on naloxone expansion, which will involve distributing free kits in more public places. Currently, naloxone kits can be obtained from walk-in sites, pharmacies, or doctor’s offices -- but many people, particularly in rural areas, still lack access, according to State Senator John Eklund who sponsored the bill.

“We are going to make it available to places where people are likely to be when they suffer overdoses… homeless shelters, schools, fire departments, police departments," Eklund said. "The idea being, we’re going to make sure that anybody who would qualify for this… and it’s pretty broad… they have access to this life-saving substance.”

The bill also aims to prevent pharmacy technicians from leaking opioids to the public, as well as to increase the accessibility of methadone clinics in Ohio. 

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