By TIM BOULWARE
Montana has already done it, but now they have the backing of US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who issued an advisory which would allow the public to have the ability to obtain Naloxone in the hopes of preventing overdose deaths from opioids.
“I think the Surgeon General’s warning was correct, it’s good, we’re all about saving lives and Naloxone has the capacity and ability to do that.”
Bryan Lockerby, Administrator of the Division of Criminal Investigation at the Montana Department of Justice said thankfully in the last legislative session the timing was right to meet this issue head on.
“Montana didn’t have a law that permitted the use of it (Naloxone) unless you had a prescription,” Lockerby said. “In other words you had to have a doctor write a prescription. When it’s life or death in a matter of seconds, you don’t have time.
“Representative (Frank) Gardner (Republican from Kalispell), carried the bill. He was able to introduce an act that would facilitate the use of Naloxone without a prescription. What it did is it allowed our department of Health and Human Services chief medical officer to issue a standing order and that meant every pharmacists in the state could distribute Naloxone through that standing order to the right people that needed it.”
The Montana Legislature also tied the Good Samaritan Law as a safeguard for those attempting to revive the overdose victim.
“So if you’re trying to bring somebody back, and you’re doing everything you can, you’re immune from being sued,” Lockerby said.
One other aspect of the law ensures those around the overdose victim, who may be using themselves, are not fearful calling in the emergency can leave them vulnerable to arrest.
“They probably going to do it (opioids) among other people that are using drugs. Those people are
going to be afraid to do anything because they’re going to get in trouble. Their first reaction is to run and potentially let that person die. We had to put in some sideboards as well to provide immunity to them for trying to do the right thing,” Lockerby said.
While this law allows greater access to Naloxone there are certain people more likely to need it.
“Somebody can obtain it if there’s anyone, a family member whose at risk. Let’s say you’re a parent
whose frustrated because your child, you can’t do much about their addiction, but might as well have some Naloxone on hand, so they don’t die in your presence. There are certain restrictions on who can have it, but almost everybody in the general public can get it. They just have to meet certain qualifying criteria,” Lockerby said.