Rep. Steve Lynch Files Legislation to Save the Lives of Drug Overdose Victims
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State Rep. Steve Lynch recently filed three pieces of legislation with a focus on providing lifesaving support for heroin and opiate overdose victims. Lynch has successfully advocated on behalf of overdose victims during his time in the legislature and was responsible for legislation in 2014 that put Naloxone, which is an antidote for heroin overdoses, in the hands of qualified first responders.
For the 2016 legislation session, Lynch is continuing his efforts by filing legislation (HB 1568) that would allow pharmacists to dispense Naloxone to individuals. Lynch said the goal is to have the lifesaving medication in the hands of family or friends who can save the life of a loved one who overdoses on opiates. The legislation is identical to a bill he sponsored during the 2015 session that received approval from the House and made it to the Senate calendar for debate.
“Massachusetts passed a similar law and saw opiate-related deaths cut nearly in half as a result,” said Lynch, R-Waynesville. “We have the opportunity to put a safe, non-addictive drug in the hands of folks who can use it to save lives. I hope my colleagues will work with me again this year to push this much-needed bill into law.”
Lynch also filed two other pieces of legislation designed to provide assistance to overdose victims. HB 1569 would provide immunity to individuals who help to obtain medical attention for someone suffering from an overdose. Lynch said under current law there is a fear of prosecution that causes some people not to seek medical attention. The bill is similar to legislation (HB 539) filed by Lynch during the 2015 session that received committee approval in the House.
HB 1570 would authorize a $5 surcharge for drug-related offense cases that would be used to fund drug rehabilitation programs. Lynch said his goal is to develop stronger funding for programs that can help individuals who are struggling with addiction to transition into healthier, more productive lives.