Family and friends of more drug users in California will soon be able to reverse overdoses at home with a lifesaving injectable drug.
On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 635, authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, which will expand the use of the drug naloxone. Naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, can be administered to a person suffering from an opiate overdose to restore breathing.
Naloxone is non-addictive, non-toxic, fairly cheap and is easy to administer through the nose or intravenously. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1971 and is stocked in thousands of emergency rooms, ambulances and post-surgery recovery rooms across the country. But frequently, opiate users don't make it to the hospital in time.
For that reason, in 2008, California implemented a pilot program in seven counties that allowed drug users, their family and friends, health care professionals and addiction counselors to administer naloxone in an emergency -- and be protected from civil or criminal liability if anything goes wrong.
The bill that Brown signed into law extends the program across all of California.
Starting Jan. 1, drug users and their family and friends will be able to request a naloxone prescription from a doctor or addiction treatment program.
For example, "if a teen is known to be picking up OxyContin, their family might -- in the treatment process -- want a naloxone prescription, just in case," Ammiano's communications director Carlos...