New Mea­sures Fight Opi­oid Cri­sis

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY -

JEF­FER­SON CITY – In July, Mis­souri Gov. Eric Gre­it­ens signed into law new opi­oids leg­is­la­tion that went into ef­fect Tues­day, giv­ing Mis­souri­ans three new tools in the fight against this epi­demic.

Two of these mea­sures are aimed at sav­ing lives in the event of an over­dose. The first pro­vi­sion au­tho­rizes De­part­ment of Health and Se­nior Ser­vices di­rec­tor Dr. Ran­dall Wil­liams to sign a stand­ing or­der for nalox­one pre­scrip­tions through­out the state. Un­der this or­der, any­one can re­ceive nalox­one from a phar­ma­cist with­out hav­ing to first get a pre­scrip­tion from another physi­cian.

“Nalox­one is a safe and ef­fec­tive drug that has saved count­less lives,” said Dr. Wil­liams. “With this or­der, we are em­pow­er­ing the peo­ple of Mis­souri to in­ter­vene on be­half of fam­ily and friends in the event of an opi­oid over­dose. I urge any­one who is at an in­creased risk for over­dose to keep nalox­one on hand in case of emer­gency. The same goes for any fam­ily mem­ber, friend, neigh­bor or ac­quain­tance of some­one suf­fer­ing from opi­oid ad­dic­tion — nalox­one saves lives.”

The sec­ond mea­sure is an ex­pan­sion of Mis­souri’s Good Sa­mar­i­tan law. Un­der the new leg­is­la­tion, any­one who acts in good faith to as­sist in a drug or al­co­hol over­dose can call for emer­gency as­sis­tance with­out fear of ar­rest or other penal­ties as a re­sult of seek­ing or ob­tain­ing med­i­cal as­sis­tance. In the event of an over­dose, this pol­icy pro­tects the vic­tim and the per­son seek­ing med­i­cal help for the vic­tim from pos­ses­sion charges.

“I want ev­ery Mis­sourian to take this to heart: Call 911 in the case of an over­dose,” Dr. Wil­liams said. “Our first re­spon­ders are ready and able to re­spond, but time has to be on their side if they’re go­ing to be ef­fec­tive. Make the call and rest as­sured that our pri­or­ity is to save lives, not pur­sue crim­i­nal charges. We think this is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for young peo­ple to re­mem­ber.

“These two mea­sures com­bined give us the great­est chance of re­vers­ing over­doses in our state. If we are all pre­pared to ad­min­is­ter nalox­one and im­me­di­ately call for aid in the event of an emer­gency, we can make tremen­dous strides in re­vers­ing the trend of fa­tal over­doses in Mis­souri.”

The third change al­lows peo­ple who have opi­oid ad­dic­tions and are be­ing treated with med­i­ca­tion as­sisted ther­apy to ac­cess Mis­souri’s drug courts. Pre­vi­ously, MAT pa­tients were con­sid­ered to still be drug users and there­fore could be ruled in­el­i­gi­ble for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion-fo­cused courts. The new mea­sure rec­og­nizes MAT as a proven method of ad­dic­tion treat­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion on nalox­one and other opi­oid cri­sis in­for­ma­tion, visit mo­hope­pro­ject.org.

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