State Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) today announced that the Ohio House passed House Bill 170, legislation that aims to reduce drug-related deaths by reversing the effects of certain drugs on the brain.

House Bill 170 expands access to naloxone hydrochloride, a medication that is effective at reversing overdoses caused by opioid pain medications and heroin. Naloxone has been used safely by emergency medical professionals for more than 40 years and has no potential for abuse or overdose.

“Making Naloxone more widely available is crucial to saving lives in Ohio,” said Representative Gonzales. “It is equally important to treat addicts who have overdosed as it is to combat the disease of drug addiction.”

The bill also protects from criminal liability health care professionals who prescribe the medication to anyone who is experiencing, or about to experience, an opioid-related overdose. This includes giving the medication to friends or family members who are in a position to help someone nearing an overdose.

Drug overdoses in Ohio have increased 440 percent in the past 10 years, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Additionally, 1,765 Ohio residents died of unintentional drug overdoses in 2011, which is the equivalent of five Ohioans dying every day.

HB 170 will now be sent to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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