States combat overdose deaths

February 24, 2014
by Mike Ollove
McClatchy (

Now states are taking action to prevent some of those deaths, many of which are attributable to heroin and the illegal use of prescription pain medications.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have passed "Good Samaritan" laws that grant limited immunity to drug users who seek help for someone who has overdosed, according to the Trust for America's Health (TFAH), a nonpartisan research and advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The same number have expanded access to the medication naloxone (also known by its brand name Narcan), which can quickly reverse the effects of opioid overdoses and restore breathing to a stricken person.

Similar measures are under consideration in at least six other states (Maine, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia).


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