July 31, 2014

Medina
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Senate approves bill for drug overdose antidote

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Senate has passed a bill that would provide friends and family of addicts with an antidote for overdoses of heroin and other opioid-type drugs, including morphine and oxycodone.

“Ohio is seeing a startling rise in the abuse of opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin,” said Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township. “This is just one part of the solution, but it is an important step in preventing needless deaths and giving a second chance to those trapped in the cycle of addiction.”

The legislation, House Bill 170, would allow health care professionals to prescribe the antidote, Naloxone (trade name: Narcan) to friends, family members or others in a position to provide assistance to a person believed to be at risk of experiencing an overdose, said Obhof, who is the Senate Majority Whip.

The bill also authorizes law enforcement and other first-responders to carry Naloxone.

House Bill 170 builds upon legislation enacted last year. Senate Bill 57, sponsored by state Sen. Gayle Manning, R–North Ridgeville, established a pilot project in Lorain County to study the impact of giving law enforcement officers the ability to administer Narcan to overdose victims.

The pilot project has shown great success and has been credited with saving at least 15 lives, according to Elaine Georgas, executive director of the Lorain county Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services board.

H.B. 170 now goes back to the House to consider changes made in the Senate.

In other statehouse action, the House Wednesday approved Senate changes to House Bill 144, which seeks to keep electronic cigarette products out of the hands of minors by applying the same legal prohibitions that are intended to keep children from obtaining tobacco products.

Previous law did not prohibit minors from purchasing e-cigarettes, which are electronic devices that provide aerosol puffs that typically contain nicotine but not the other chemicals and tar in cigarette smoke.

The bill was sent to Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to sign it.