There is currently a bill (HB208) to help prevent opiate overdose deaths in Alabama.   I encourage you to take a few minutes and write your representative to encourage him or her to vote YES to HB208. 

 As I am sure most of you already know, opiate overdoses, including heroin overdoses, have become a public health emergency in Alabama over the last couple of years.  In fact, the number of deaths from heroin overdose doubled in Jefferson County (Alabama’s most populous county) just last year. 

 The lives of thousands of people in the U.S. have been saved by laypersons administering a life-saving medication- it’s called Naloxone(a.k.a., Narcan)

 Here is the first problem:  Access to Naloxone is currently limited in Alabama.    HB208 would make Naloxone available to family members, friends, or other persons, including law enforcement personnel, who may be in a position to assist a person experiencing a suspected opioid overdose. 

 Here is what you need to know about Naloxone:  1) It blocks the opiate receptor sites in the brain and, once administered, it will reverse an opiate overdose; 2) Naloxone is NOT a controlled substance and has NO abuse potential; 3) Naloxone is available in a nasal spray, so any layperson should be able to administer it; 4) While Naloxone does cause sudden unpleasant opiate withdrawal symptoms for those actually suffering an opiate overdose (such as nausea and vomiting), the alternative is often death or serious brain damage; and 4) Naloxone is harmless, with NO negative effects if it is accidently administered to someone NOT experiencing an opiate overdose.

 Here’s the second problem: The vast majority of heroin use is done in the presence of others, but the majority of people who have died in Alabama from heroin overdose are found alone – abandoned out of fear of arrest.  Twenty-one other states have already addressed this problem by amending their laws to provide limited protection for “Good Samaritans” – people who summon aid and remain with the victim until help arrives. 

 HB208 would offer limited immunity for certain controlled substance offenses or underage drinking for persons who seek emergency medical assistance for another person.  If you, or someone you know, has been impacted by the disease of addiction, please consider encouraging your representative to support this bill.  Better still, even if you have never met anyone whose life has been impacted in some way by addiction, I would still ask that you take a few minutes to contact your representative and ask that he or she support this bill.  Just pay it forward.  Thanks.

 If you need help contacting your representative, just go to the website below (and you can send an email).   http://capwiz.com/state-al/home/