Two Hawaii nonprofits are urging Gov. David Ige to sign a bill that makes it easier for health care providers to distribute medicine that reverses opioid overdoses.

The Legislature approved Senate Bill 2392, which establishes “immunity for health care professionals and pharmacists who prescribe, dispense, distribute, or administer an opioid antagonist such as naloxone hydrochloride to persons who are at risk of experiencing or who are experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose.”

Naloxone blocks the effects of opioid overdoses
Naloxone blocks the effects of opioid overdoses. Courtesy of Pennsylvania Governor Governor Wolf

In a press release issued Thursday, the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii and the CHOW project said naloxone blocks the effects of opioid overdoses and has been used to reverse over 10,000 overdoses nationwide.

“The passage of this landmark bill will put this medicine in the hands of friends and family best positioned to save the lives of their loved ones,” they wrote.

SB 2392 also requires Medicaid coverage for drugs that reverse opioid overdoses and grants immunity to any person who administers them to someone who is suffering an overdose.

“For every 164 of naloxone kits distributed, one life is saved. Hawaii now joins the majority of states in increasing access to this life-saving drug with the passage of this important legislation,” said Heather Lusk, director of the CHOW Project. “Half of our participants have witnessed or experienced an overdose in the past couple of years and now we can prevent overdose deaths with education and access to naloxone.”

For more information about naloxone, check out this fact sheet by the CHOW Project and this Huffington Post investigation into medical treatments for heroin addiction.

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