- Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Bill Walker has introduced legislation to keep in place the public health disaster declaration he issued in response to rampant opioid abuse in Alaska.

The bill cites a state law limiting disaster emergency proclamations to 30 days unless extended by the Legislature. Walker signed his declaration Feb. 14. He is seeking a one-year extension.

Walker has said the declaration would allow the state to provide standing medical orders allowing for broader distribution of naloxone, which can be used to prevent opioid overdose.

He had proposed spending about $4.1 million in federal grants through August 2021 for a naloxone program.

The state’s chief medical officer, Jay Butler, says the program would be on hold if a bill isn’t passed. Or, he says, officials would need to find another administrative tool, such as memorandum agreements for each organization it is working with.

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