FORT WAYNE, Ind., April 15 (UPI) -- Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that makes Narcan, a so-called overdose prevention drug, readily available to the families and friends of drug addicts at risk for overdosing on heroin and other opioids.
The bill would make naloxone or other opioid analgesics easily available to "a family member, a friend, or any other individual or entity in a position to assist an individual who, there is reason to believe, is at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose."
"We're not permitting the use of heroin," said Republican state Rep. Jim Merritt. "We're acknowledging we have addicts in our homes, and Narcan is needed to save lives, so this is an antidote that is needed today. The next step is to treat those addicts so that maybe we can change our communities with the addiction to heroin."
In early March, the state Department of Health found a marked uptick in heroin deaths statewide. In 2014, Indiana first responders began carrying the drug to help overdose victims.
Narcan, the brand name of the naloxone drug, is an injectable drug that works by counteracting drug overdose effects including reduced heartbeat and breathing. Because the drug is administered during an overdose, it is typically not self administered.
The law, dubbed "Aaron's law" would allow doctors to write a standing prescription for Narcan or a related drug. Justin Phillips, whose 20-year-old son Aaron overdosed on heroin in 2013, has been pushing for the bill in her son's name.