COLUMBUS, Ohio – Governor John Kasich has signed a bill into law allowing friends or family members of addicts to administer a drug overdose antidote without the fear of prosecution.
Sponsored by state Reps. Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) and Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) of McDermott, the legislation is aimed at reducing the state’s record-high number of fatal overdoses from heroin and painkillers — which is now the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, surpassing car crashes.
“Expanding access to this life-saving drug is an important step in the fight against prescription drug-abuse, which has reached epidemic status,” said Stinziano, who says 16 other states have eased restrictions on who can prescribe, dispense and administer the drug.
The bill signed Tuesday allows licensed prescribers to provide the drug naloxone to an addict’s friends or family members. People administering the drug would be immune from prosecution as long as they call 911 immediately before or after giving the antidote. It also must be obtained through proper channels.
“This bill empowers families, friends, and law enforcement to save lives and give the addict a chance at recovery, and it is another useful tool in our collective effort to defeat this horrible scourge on our community” Johnson said.
In addition, the bill would make it easier for police and emergency responders to administer the drug.