- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A proposal allowing trained first responders and police officers to carry an opiate overdose antidote will help fight drug fatalities in South Dakota, Attorney General Marty Jackley told a state Senate panel Wednesday shortly before it passed the measure.

The state Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted unanimously to send the bill to the chamber’s floor. Jackley said giving firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders the ability to carry the antidote, called Naloxone, will save lives in the unfortunate circumstance of a drug overdose.

“Across the nation, we’ve been experiencing many overdose deaths. We have not been immune to it in South Dakota,” he said. “This presents us in South Dakota with an opportunity … to give the tools to save a life.”

Representatives from the state Health and Public Safety departments also backed the proposal.

South Dakota had 32 apparent accidental overdose deaths in 2013, according to the latest numbers available from the Department of Health. Jackley said South Dakota has lagged behind a national uptick in heroin use, but he warned: “It’s coming.”

Some lawmakers on the Senate panel had concerns about the potential health effects and abuse potential of Naloxone.

“Is anybody going to be breaking into the ambulance to get high on this drug?” asked Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City.

Jackley said it appears the antidote “doesn’t create medical complications or worsen the situation.”

He also said the authorization isn’t a mandate. Local officials can pursue the antidote. Interested agencies could be eligible for money from the state’s Drug Control Fund to purchase Naloxone if they choose to outfit responders, Jackley said.

The proposal puts a state medical board in charge of establishing rules about training and about getting responders access to the antidote, which would require doctor supervision.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide