HB2355, The Naloxone Bill has passed
OPIOID OVERDOSE REVERSAL BILL LAST TO PASS ARIZONA LEGISLATURE
In the last minutes of their session, the Arizona Legislature voted 28-0-2 to pass a bill allowing community members to access naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, aligning Arizona with at least 45 other states. Advocates, chronic pain sufferers, and people suffering from addiction breathed a sigh of relief, as the bill both facilitates access to the life-saving, easy to administer medication and removes liability from anyone who administers, dispenses, or prescribes it, provided they had done so in good faith. In 2014, approximately 1200 Arizonans died of overdose, many of which may have been prevented with the use of naloxone.
“Although addressing the vulnerabilities of substance use takes a multi-faceted approach, access to naloxone is instrumental in preventing needless tragedy for thousands of Arizonans, while providing opportunities for treatment, health care, and education for some of our most marginalized community members,” says executive director of SPW Haley Coles.
The bill would not have passed without a joint effort between advocacy groups Sonoran Prevention Works, Addiction Haven, and the hundreds of advocates throughout the state who called their Senators in the final moments before the session ended. The bill sponsor, Representative Heather Carter, has been a champion for overdose prevention initiatives in the state legislature, and solicited overwhelming bipartisan support for the bill.
Upon Governor Ducey’s signing, SPW will be working with other groups to establish programs throughout the state to train laypersons on overdose prevention and response using naloxone.
Coles says: “Engagement with people who use drugs is the key to providing life-saving education and resources. When we let people know their lives are valuable by having naloxone around, we increase their chances at making positive changes and seeking help.”