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Preventing drug overdose deaths

April 9, 2016
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Prescription overdoses kill more Americans each year than all other drugs combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 44 people die from a prescription painkiller overdose every day.

Though Iowa ranks 45th in the nation for overdose fatalities, the number of Iowa drug deaths--a majority of which are related to prescription medications--has more than quadrupled in recent years, increasing from 12 in 2005 to 52 in 2014. Between 2009 and 2014, 646 Iowans lost their lives to opioids.

SF 2218, which has passed the House and Senate, would provide better access to a life-saving emergency drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose. First responders, emergency medical service providers, police, firefighters and licensed health care professionals could maintain a supply of the opioid antagonist and administer it in cases of an overdose. A "person in a position to assist," including a family member, friend, caregiver, substance abuse facility employee and others, could also administer the emergency drug.

Article Photos

State Senator Steve Sodders
D-State Center

The Iowa Department of Public Health will establish standards and procedures for prescribing, distributing, storing and maintaining a supply of the antagonist, as well as for the training and authorizing people to administer it.

First responders, EMS providers, law enforcement, fire departments and prescribers will be immune from legal liability for administering the antagonist as long as they act in good faith. The opioid antagonist will not harm a person if it turns out they were not overdosing.

SF 2218 has been sent to the Governor for his signature.



Join me for a discussion of how privatized Medicaid is working in Iowa. I want to hear your experiences, as Senate Democrats continue to push for tough oversight and accountability that keeps our health care safety net strong.

*Tama Medicaid listening post: April 8, 2016 @ 10:00 am at Tama Civic Center, 305 Siegel Street, Tama. More information

*Marshalltown Medicaid listening post: April 8, 2016 @ 2:00 pm at Marshalltown Community College, 3700 S Center Street, Marshalltown. More information



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