From Senator Rich Taylor

Written by Theresa Rose on October 15, 2015

HELPING IOWANS PREVENT OVERDOSE DEATHS

The recent autopsy results for Iowan and former New York Giant Tyler Sash shines a prominent light on the rise in fatalities caused by opiate overdose.

According to a recent report from the Trust for America’s Health, prescription drug and heroin overdose deaths have climbed in Iowa, just as they have nationwide. We could prevent some of these deaths by allowing Iowans to obtain medications that counteract drug overdoses.

Such fatalities have prompted 34 other states to allow families to administer an overdose rescue drug known as Narcan. Narcan can temporarily block the effects of narcotics and buy time for a victim to get medical help in an overdose situation.

New Hampshire, for example, is using $500,000 in federal grant money to distribute 5,000 overdose prevention kits. The kits will help the state combat overdose deaths until Narcan, which is now legal for laypeople to administer in New Hampshire, becomes more available via prescription.

Iowans who’ve lost loved ones to a drug overdose—as well as those who’ve seen the life-saving results of Narcan—want to see wider-spread use of the antidote here in Iowa.

I am listening, and responded by helping the Iowa Senate approve a bill this year to allow families to get a prescription for Narcan and to administer it in an emergency, provided they call for medical assistance and cooperate with law enforcement and medical personnel.

Senate File 410 is now under consideration in the Iowa House, where it’s already passed the Committee on Public Safety. It’s my hope that the House will approve this bill in the upcoming 2016 session and send it to the Governor for his signature.

It’s one way we can prevent unnecessary tragedies and the heartache of Iowans who are currently powerless to intervene when loved ones are in danger—and it gives individuals the chance to get help for their substance use issues.

Additional information

This is a legislative update from Senator Rich Taylor, representing Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/taylor.

To contact Senator Taylor during session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at home at 319-931-1568. E-mail him at rich.taylor@legis.iowa.gov.

Senator Taylor is chair of the Local Government Committee. He also serves on the Economic Growth, Human Resources, Judiciary, and Justice Systems Budget committees.