NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- State Rep. Tom O'Dea (R-New Canaan/Wilton) is praising the passage of a bill that would provide legal immunity for administering an opioid antagonist drug to an overdosing individual.
House Bill 5487 passed the state’s House of Representatives unanimously. The bill, introduced through the Judiciary Committee by O’Dea in January, would extend immunity from criminal prosecution to anyone administering the anti-overdose drug naloxone, or other similar drug intended to counter the effects of an overdose on opioids, according to a press release.
“Throughout the nation, and Connecticut in particular, the rise in deaths from heroin overdoses has been shocking,” O’Dea said in the release. “Many of these heroin users start down this deadly path by abusing prescription medications, which can be just as dangerous when abused. This is a common sense bill that will save lives and give some relief to those who have a loved one suffering from drug addiction.”
The bill extends its protections to those administering an "opioid antagonist," which for the purposes of the bill refers to “naloxone hydrochloride or any other similarly acting and equally safe drug approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of drug overdose,” according to the release.
Naloxone is often referred to as Narcan, which is a brand name version of the drug.
"This medication can be extremely effective in reversing a life-threatening overdose when administered in time. This legislation sends a message to anyone that is at the scene of an overdose that they can administer naloxone in an effort to save that person's life without hesitation over liability concerns," O'Dea said in the release. “This issue was originally brought to my attention by my constituent Jeff Holland and Ingrid Gillespie of the Connecticut Prevention Network, and I thank them for their support.”