Ohio Allows All First Responders to Carry Life-Saving Heroin Antidote

March 13, 2014

The day after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called for expanded use of the life-saving opioid overdose antidote naloxone in the nation's burgeoning heroin epidemic, Ohio Gov. John Kasich made that expansion a little easier here.

Kasich Tuesday signed into law House Bill 170, stripping restrictions that formerly allowed only advanced paramedics and people addicted to prescription opioid drugs or heroin to carry naloxone, often sold as the brand name Narcan.

Friends and family members of addicts now have access to the drug that reverses an overdose in seconds, and all first responders, including police officers, firefighters and basic paramedics, can carry naloxone.

The bill's "Good Samaritan" clause blankets from prosecution someone who gives naloxone to an overdosing person and then calls 9-1-1, even if the caller was using drugs, to eliminate the fear of calling for help.

Nationwide, 17 states and the District of Columbia have expanded access to naloxone, and the drug has saved over 10,000 lives since 2001, a press release from Holder's office said.

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