Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Colorado Senate Health Committee to Decide on Overdose Drug Expansion Bill

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will convene on Feb. 14 to vote on a new legislation that would expand access to the life-saving medication, naloxone.

According to a news release, SB 13-14 seeks to expand access to naloxone by providing protection against civil and criminal liability for medical professionals who prescribe the drug to third parties, and laypeople who subsequently administer it.

Naloxone is a prescription medication that counteracts the effects of opioid drugs, such as heroin and OxyContin. It is already being used by emergency personnel when responding to drug overdose scenarios.

“This is a common sense solution to a growing problem,” says Art Way, senior drug policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance in Colorado. “Expanded access to naloxone is a key component for a comprehensive strategy to prevent overdose.”

The Drug Policy Alliance is one of the strong supporters of the bill sponsored by Sen. Irene Aguilar. Other organizations endorsing the legislation include Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, Mental Health America of Colorado, Colorado Behavioral Health Council, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, American Medical Association, and National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Currently, only California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Washington State, and the District of Columbia have laws that explicitly provide protection from civil and/or criminal liability for people who prescribe or administer naloxone to those at risk for drug overdose.

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