State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) today announced that the Ohio House unanimously 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.

“Our most precious asset in this state is our people, and it is our duty to defend every stage of life even in the darkest, frailest moments we face,” Hagan said. “We should join together in defending the sanctity of life and doing everything we can to extend value to helping people out of devastating life circumstances. This is an opportunity to do just that for our people and I am thrilled to vote yes on this important legislation.”

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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