Anti-Overdose Medication To Help Combat Opiate Prescription Drug - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Anti-Overdose Medication To Help Combat Opiate Prescription Drug Abuse

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New legislation sponsored by Rep. Michael Stinziano (D-Oh.) is proposing a state wide program that would make Narcan, a medication used to reverse opiate overdoses, more accessible.

The legislation would extend Project DAWN, Deaths Avoided with Naloxone (a variation of Narcan). Project DAWN is a pilot program testing the use of Narcan given out through kits in Scioto County.

Narcan only works to counter opiate overdoses and will not counter overdoses from other drugs.

Stinziano says the kits cost approximately $40 a piece but ultimately save tens of thousands of dollars in emergency service and hospital costs resulting from an overdose. He believes Narcan can help address the growing prescription drug abuse problem.

"The numbers don't lie. That's what we're trying to address. So we think the benefit of saving another Ohioan's life, having a mother not go through the death of a child and trying to find a real solution," Stinziano said.

EMTs currently can use Narcan to treat opiate overdoes however this legislation would extend Narcan to the hands of addicts and family members of addicts who may be in a position to deal with an overdose.

Critics say Narcan being given to addicts could simply encourage drug use and worry about it in the hands of anyone other than a medical professional.

However, Paul Coleman, CEO of Maryhaven which treats thousands of addicts every year says he supports the legislation because Narcan is simply a stepping stone and can be a wakeup call to addicts.

"The saving of that life through Narcan is only a beginning. The person that is addicted to opiates must seek treatment and begin the path to recovery," Coleman said.

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