Alcohol/Drug Issues

MUÑOZ BILL TRAINING EMT’S TO ADMINISTER ANTIDOTE FOR OPIOID OVERDOSE RELEASED BY COMMITTEE

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Nancy F. Muñoz that provides for the training of emergency medical technicians (EMT) to administer an antidote in cases of opioid overdoses was released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee today.

An opioid overdose is an acute condition due to excessive use of narcotics and is the leading cause of accidental death. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reports there was a 21 percent increase in overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers and a 45 percent increase in deaths involving heroin between 2006 and 2010.

“Many times, an EMT is the first person on the scene in an urgent situation,” said Muñoz. “Training them to administer the antidote, usually Naloxone, will save lives and prevent permanent physical or mental illness. Treating addiction is an ongoing challenge, whether it is from overdosing on prescribed medications or using illegal narcotics such as heroin.”

Muñoz said the training and certification requirement in the bill, A-2770, will clarify that EMT’s are protected by the Overdose Prevention Act passed last year that allows anyone to get Naloxone as long as they have a prescription from a doctor and received instruction on how to use it.

“Opiod overdoses can take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to turn deadly. Every second counts reacting to this crisis,” stated Muñoz, who is a clinical nurse. “Training EMTs to administer this type of first aid can prevent unnecessary tragedies.”