This is very good news for Michigan:
The state Senate gave final passage today to three bills that will make access to drugs like Narcan, which can successfully reverse the deadly effects of a heroin overdose, more readily available and require emergency medical personnel to carry the drug with them.
The bills would:
- Allow Narcan to be prescribed to friends and family of heroin addicts, so it’s readily available in the event of an overdose.
- Protect a person administering Narcan in good faith to be immune from criminal prosecution or professional sanctions.
- Require emergency medical personnel to carry the drug in their vehicles and be trained in how to administer it.
- Require the state Department of Community Health to complete annual reports of opioid-related overdose deaths.
It still needs to go to conference and the governor’s desk.
What’s prompting this?
While heroin deaths are down in Oakland and Wayne counties in recent years, they’re up overall in the state, jumping from 271 deaths in 1999-2002 to 728 in 2010-12, according to statistics compiled by the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Admissions to heroin treatment programs also is on the rise, with 12,753 people seeking help for heroin addiction in 2012, compared to 6,500 in 2000.
Now, the big question is, What comes after the overdose rescue? Are these people going to have real access to high quality treatment of adequate duration and intensity?