EDINA, Minn. (AP) - Advocates of a law that’s designed to save lives in the event of a drug overdose have been working on implementing it statewide - and they have started teaching people how to administer a drug that can stop an opiate overdose in its tracks.
Lawmakers passed the new immunity law this year, called Steve’s Law, to encourage people to call for help if a friend or family member is experiencing a drug overdose. The law, passed after a surge of opiate overdoses statewide, also allows doctors to prescribe naloxone, or Narcan, to first responders and others so they can use it to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose.
Minnesota Public Radio News reported (https://bit.ly/SWhgXg ) that the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation has been working with law enforcement around the state to make sure naloxone is available. On Wednesday, the advocates began what they hope is the first of many training sessions in coming months.
“This is the first training in the state where people can actually leave with a prescription that’s not intended to be used on themselves, and it’s intended to be used on somebody they come across that needs it,” said Lexi Reed Holtum, vice president of the foundation, which pushed for the law.
Wednesday’s trainees included people who lost loved ones to opiate overdoses. They gathered at an Edina church to learn how to administer naloxone, and said they hope the drug will help prevent overdose deaths in the future.
Michon Jenkin was among the trainees. Her daughter, Ashley Jenkin-Segal, was 29 when she overdosed on a mixture of oxycontin and Xanax last June 22. Jenkin said her daughter got the drugs from a boyfriend, who had them prescribed to him because of a back injury.
“I’ve never met him,” Jenkin said of the boyfriend. “I do know that when Ashley overdosed that he was afraid of calling 911 because he was in trouble - he was on probation and he had upcoming court dates.”
Ashley had been dead for at least four hours before he called for help.
Ian Noire, who led Wednesday’s training, said before the law changed it was hard to find doctors willing to prescribe naloxone, which limited its availability. Under Steve’s Law, naloxone can be prescribed to public health workers or family members of opiate users.
“Even families having it is a big deal, so that if someone does use alone in their home and mom and dad goes to check on them, and they think they’re not just high, but overdosing, they can give them (naloxone),” Noire said. “Ultimately the biggest thing is saving people’s lives.”
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org
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