By Arian Campo-Flores and Zusha Elinson
Faced with an unrelenting epidemic of heroin and pain-pill deaths, many states are pushing to make more widely available a drug called naloxone that can reverse overdoses from such opioid drugs within minutes.
Nationwide, overdose deaths from painkillers such as oxycodone rose 23% to 16,917 between 2006 and 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those due to heroin, which is related to the opioid drugs, jumped 110% to 4,397 over the same period.
There are now 24 states, along with the District of Columbia, that have passed laws expanding access to naloxone, 17 of them in the last two years, said Corey Davis, deputy director of the Network for Public Health Law’s Southeastern region, who tracks such policies. The measures vary, but common provisions include allowing doctors to prescribe naloxone to a drug user’s friends and family members, and removing legal liability for prescribers and those who administer the medication. Read the full article here. »