FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Indiana house voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to pass the bill that’ll make Narcan more accessible to the average person, not just first responders. Narcan reverses the effects of opioid overdoses.
According to the bill’s author, Republican Senator James Merritt of District 31, 1,000 heroin overdoses were reversed in Indiana last year with Naloxone or Narcan. However, one Indianapolis man wasn’t one of them. The law named after him, called Aaron’s law, would allow people to administer Narcan at home.
Senator Merritt, said usually a new law would go into effect July 1st. However, because this is an emergency, it’ll begin as soon as the governor signs it.
“This is an illness, this is a sickness, this is a disease, this isn’t a character flaw. One of the issues that we’ve got to continue to work on in the state of Indiana is addiction and heroin is the drug of choice right now,” said Senator Merritt.
Locally, the Allen County coroner’s office estimates a heroin overdose every three weeks an increase from years’ past.
Our health department is getting similar reports from the ER. According to its study, between 2008 and 2013, more than half of people who died by accidental overdoses, had someone with them: someone who might have been able to give that person Narcan and prevented death.
“Until we really significantly reduce people who are using prescription opiates or illegal heroin, until we can actually reduce that number, I think we need to have some interim measures or tools that will help us prevent people from dying accidentally,” said Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two factors appear to be driving the increase in heroin overdoses: widespread prescription opioid exposure and addiction and increased heroin supply.
Last July, all first responders, including police officers, were able to start carrying Narcan.
This law would allow someone to go to a doctor and get a prescription for Narcan to have on hand in case of a heroin or prescription drug overdose.
The bill heads back to the senate for final approval before going to the governor’s desk.