New law will make overdose antidotes more readily available

(AP Photo)

LANSING, MI (WLNS) -Heroin overdoses in Jackson County happen far too often than they should.

In the past seven days, police in the city of Jackson have responded to more than a dozen overdoses across the area.

That includes one particular case Tuesday night, when officers were called to a home on the 900 block of Bush Street multiple times, after one person over-dosed twice in a span of a three hours.

So the question is, what can be done about this serious problem?

One possible answer came to light Wednesday, after Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley put his signature on a number of bills that make over-dose anti-dotes more readily available to residents.

One new law will allow individuals, including schools in Michigan, to get overdose-reversal medication like narcan without a prescription.

Under the same law, pharmacists would not be held liable for the damages that result from dispensing those medications.

6 News spoke to individuals who have been personally impacted by the heroin epidemic, and they say this new law will only help the cause.

“The first time our son overdosed, we were home…and we heard him overdose in the bathroom and I was trying enough to do CPR on our son but the first responders at that time, which were the Meridian Township Police, they were wonderful, they didn’t have narcan,” Phil Pavona said. “The ambulance that came later did and so obviously…minutes mean lives.”

When it comes to having narcan or Naloxone readily available for the average person, or even law enforcement, a lot has changed since Phil Pavona’s son, Eric died of a heroin overdose back in 2011.

But now, in 2016, many police officers carry narcan, and thanks to a new law, you  will be able to, as well.

“It’s not a cure, it’s not a treatment for these people, but it saves a life.” Pavona said. “Which then allows you a second chance and a second opportunity, and if necessary, a third and fourth opportunity.”

Pavona started and runs a “Families Against Narcotics” chapter here in Ingham County. He said this new law is a step in the right direction.

“We are saving lives today and again it’s the first step in providing treatment following saving their lives,” he said.

“It’s been met with a lot of support from the community, lawmakers, law enforcement, and The Michigan Pharmacists Association.

“We hear stories all the time of families who had to wait for EMS and felt like they couldn’t do anything,” Amanda Lick, Director of Government Relations for the Michigan Pharmacists Association sais. “This legislation is monumental in the fact that it’s going to make a huge difference and save lives.”

“This life-saving tool will do more than just help a person who’s overdosed on heroin, it can also help those who have overdosed on different opiates including Vicotin, Hydrocodone, and Norco.

“I actually lost my mom to prescription overdose nine years ago and something like this will save lives just like hers,” Lick said. “It’s hard to believe sometimes that it’s taken this long, but other states are following this model and it seems to be working for them.”

Lick also said that even though people will have better access to narcan, in the event it has to be used, you should always call 911.

She also said it’s important to remember that pharmacists are always there to help out with any questions you may have, when it comes to using the life-saving medicine.

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