Proposals sought to reduce overdoses

Published 12:46 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2015

COLUMBUS (AP) — A package of bills aimed at addressing Ohio’s opiate addiction crisis includes a proposal to give certain immunity to drug users seeking emergency help for others who have overdosed on heroin or painkillers.

Fatal overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, surpassing car crashes.

The proposal from Reps. Robert Sprague and Denise Driehaus would exempt people from being arrested on minor drug possession charges if they help someone experiencing an opioid-related overdose.

The bill sponsors said Ohio shouldn’t discourage drug users from calling for help if someone has overdosed.

Other legislation from Sprague would place tighter controls on prescribers who provide certain opioids for Medicaid patients. Another bill would require health insurers to provide coverage for abuse-deterrent drugs, which couldn’t be easily tampered with.