ST. PAUL, MINN. – After passing both the Health and Human Services and Judiciary Committees this week, Senator Chris Eaton’s 911 Good Samaritan/Naloxone bill has been referred to the Senate Floor.
SF 1900 is a two-part bill that aims to combat the unfortunate and all-too-common outcomes of the opiate abuse epidemic that continues to plague the nation. One component of the bill calls for law enforcement and first responders to carry and administer Naloxone in the event of an overdose. Naloxone is a non-addictive opiate antagonist that can buy an overdose victim approximately 45 minutes of revival time. The other component, also known as Steve’s Law, releases liability for a person seeking medical assistance for another who has overdosed.
While the immunity from prosecution portion of the bill has met some opposition, testifiers – including Dr. Charles Reznikoff, Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy Cody Wiberg, Vice President of the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation Lexi Reed Holtum, and the mothers of two overdose victims – remain adamant that the two components go hand-in-hand.
“Naloxone has saved the lives of thousands of people, but it’s important that it is administered before it’s too late,” Sen. Eaton explained. “We know that in 80 percent of reported overdose deaths, the victim was in the company of at least one person. The problem is – people don’t call 911 for fear of criminal prosecution. That’s why the Good Samaritan part of the bill is essential. How do we save lives unless that phone call is made?”
Hennepin County saw a more than 800 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2008 to 2013, but laws like SF 1900 can change that. Since the 2010 implementation of a similar law in Massachusetts, Quincy MA officers have administered Naloxone 221 times and reversed 211 overdoses. The Massachusetts law also has Naloxone and immunity components, proving the effectiveness of the two-part bill.
For more information, please visit http://www.senate.mn or www.rummlerfoundation.org. For updates on bills Sen. Eaton is working on, please Like her Facebook page.