- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota’s medical licensing board has endorsed allowing emergency officials to carry an antidote to help people who have overdosed on opiates such as heroin.

The state Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners on Thursday approved a set of rules for police officers and other emergency personnel to carry Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, the Argus Leader newspaper reported (http://argusne.ws/1lBjGJn ). Final approval rests with state officials.

Law enforcement officials are concerned about growth in heroin use around the country. The drug is supplanting prescription painkillers for addicts in states that have tightened enforcement or created prescription drug monitoring programs. South Dakota now has a monitoring program, though it has yet to see a surge in heroin use.

There were 32 opioid overdose deaths in South Dakota in 2013, according to Attorney General Marty Jackley. He sponsored legislation earlier this year to enable first responders to carry Naloxone.

The rules crafted by the medical board require first responders to complete a training course taught by a licensed physician who could then issue a standing order allowing the first responder to use the drug. They now go to the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee for approval and submission to the Secretary of State’s Office. They would take effect 20 days after that.

How quickly the training and procurement of Naloxone would take place then depends on the individual agency that wants to use the antidote. Each agency would need to connect with a physician, get their employees trained and secure a supply.

“It will be community-driven at that point,” said Margaret Hansen, executive director of the medical board.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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