Legislation extends authority of Chief Medical Officer to distribute life-saving drug
March 22, 2017
“This is the first bill I have signed into law from the 30th Alaska Legislature, and I am grateful legislators have joined me in prioritizing such a critical issue,” Governor Walker said. “We are saving lives with this law. If administered in time, naloxone gives overdose victims a chance to survive, ultimately reducing the number of untimely deaths caused by opioid and heroin addiction. While there is still a great deal of work needed to combat this epidemic, this legislation will provide first-responders and community organizations across the state with greater access to naloxone.”
The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously approved Senate Bill 91 to extend the current disaster declaration for the opioid epidemic in Alaska. The bill gives Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer needed statutory authority to proceed with the planned statewide response to the opioid epidemic.
“Opioid abuse is tearing apart families and endangering public safety across Alaska,” said House Health and Social Services Committee Chair Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), who carried the bill on the floor of the Alaska House. “Governor Walker took the bold first step to declare a disaster declaration for the ongoing epidemic but he needed our help to continue the coordinated statewide response. The House and Senate recognized the urgency of passing this bill, which is why it went from introduction to final passage in 11 days. I want to thank every member of the House and Senate for recognizing the importance of this bill by helping expedite its consideration.”
Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioids, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness. Naloxone is used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation.
SB 91 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 39-0. The bill passed the Alaska Senate by a vote of 20-0 on March 16th and was signed into law by Governor Walker yesterday.
Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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