General Assembly Passes Naloxone Bill
Ohio ACEP member and naloxone access advocate, Dr. Joan Papp, has been a vocal supporter of the bill
House Bill 4—which would increase access to the opioid overdose drug, naloxone—was passed unanimously by the Ohio House of Representatives in March. Earlier this week, the Ohio Senate followed suit, passing the bill without a single “no” vote. The final version of the bill was amended to include an emergency clause so the bill will take effect immediately after being signed by Gov. Kasich.
The legislation was championed by Ohio ACEP member and naloxone access advocate, Dr. Joan Papp, who provided testimony to the House Health and Aging Committee in support of the legislation. She said the provisions of the bill would build upon the work currently under way in counties participating in Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone).
“Overall, we have enrolled over 1,200 individuals and have had reports of at least 112 overdose reversals by individuals who used our overdose kit to save the life of a person who was dying from an opioid overdose,” said Dr. Papp, who is Medical Director of Project DAWN.
Despite their success, new naloxone access programs around Ohio have been stymied by current requirements that a licensed prescriber be present for all distribution of naloxone. This has provided a significant challenge to many Ohioans who are at risk of overdose, as well as their loved ones, who often must travel long distances to one of the counties where naloxone programs are active.
In addition to a “safe harbor” provision for those who may also be using drugs but administer naloxone and call 911, HB 4 would allow pharmacists and pharmacy interns to dispense naloxone under written protocols established by a physician.
The legislation also specifies that a physician who, in good faith, authorizes another individual to personally furnish naloxone—and the individual authorized to furnish naloxone—would not liable for, or subject to any civil action, criminal prosecution, or professional disciplinary action for any action or omission by the naloxone recipient.