State should OK naloxone bill

Published 12:39 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Once in a great while, a bill so obviously good comes along that not even one member of the Ohio Senate can reasonably oppose it. Such is the case with a lifesaving measure that would vastly expand the use of naloxone to reduce fatal opioid overdoses, including those caused by heroin, oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Last week, senators unanimously approved the bill, which goes back to the House. Representatives should approve it, and Gov. John Kasich should sign it.

The bill aims to reduce Ohio’s record number of fatal overdoses from heroin and prescription painkillers — now the state’s leading cause of accidental death, surpassing car crashes. It would allow licensed prescribers to provide naloxone, known by the trade name Narcan, to an addict’s friends or family members….

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Naloxone can be simply administered with a nasal spray to reverse the effects of a drug overdose. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, naloxone blocks heroin or prescription pain drugs from binding to receptors in the brain and stopping a person’s breathing. It has no effect on someone who has not taken opiates….

The only argument against expanding naloxone use is that it could enable opiate abusers to keep using. That’s nonsense, and cruel to boot….

Expanded use of naloxone won’t eradicate Ohio’s opiate epidemic. But it will save hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives and nudge people into treatment. That’s a no-brainer, even for state lawmakers.


The (Toledo) Blade