Ohio lawmakers are looking to expand access to a drug that helps revive heroin overdose victims, as the state attorney general attempts to reduce its cost.
An Ohio House committee approved a bill Wednesday that would allow any individual—not just emergency responders—to provide heroin overdose antidote Naloxone to friends and family members without a prescription and/or fear of prosecution.
The bill expands a law passed last year that provided increased access to the drug and allowed police and emergency responders to carry it. The latest bill, approved by the House Health and Aging Committee, would also allow pharmacies to hand out the drug without prescriptions.
Naloxone has been shown to temporarily revive overdose victims, allowing them to breathe and giving paramedics time to save their lives.
Heroin overdoses have grown into a public health crisis in Ohio within the last few years. According to the Ohio Department of Health, heroin-related deaths have increased from 16% of all drug-involved deaths throughout the state in 2008 to 35% in 2012, when 680 people died from a heroin overdose.
As heroin-related deaths have increased, the price of Naloxone has gone up as well. According to the Dayton Daily News, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is currently negotiating with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to decrease the cost by getting a price rebate for the drug.