State Representative Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) applauded the passage of House Bill 4 through the Ohio House of Representatives. This legislation works to take further strides in curtailing the opiate drug epidemic in Ohio by expanding access to a life-saving medication.

House Bill 4 expands access to naloxone, a medication used to protect an individual experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose. Naloxone reverses the effects of opioids during an overdose, which can effectively shut down a person’s respiratory system.

After the bill’s passage, Rep. LaTourette released the following statement:

“Addiction, specifically opiate addiction, is a disease that knows no boundaries. It affects the young and the old, the wealthy and the impoverished. It affects the urban, the suburban and even the rural areas in our state. This disease is killing our loved ones at a rapid rate, and although Ohioans have pulled together over recent years in an attempt to combat this horrible epidemic, we still have a lot of work to do.

“House Bill 4 takes us a step closer to ensuring that our loved ones don’t pay the ultimate price due to their disease. It allows families and community members to truly take a more active role in saving lives and adds a level of security to families across Ohio currently living in a state of constant chaos and fear. I thank the bill sponsors for their forward-thinking approach to this epidemic and I am honored to have had the opportunity to co-sponsor such an amazing and vital piece of legislation. I look forward to playing an active role in future legislation to further address this issue.”

The bill allows a physician to authorize naloxone to a patient who is at risk of overdosing or to a person who might be able to assist that patient during an opioid-induced overdose. House Bill 4 also requires a physician to have in writing certain protocol for furnishing naloxone. Additionally, pharmacists will have the ability to dispense the medication with this bill’s passage.

As amended in committee, the legislation also now requires the Ohio Department of Health to create a model protocol for naloxone and gives it permission to sell the medication wholesale to law enforcement officials. Health departments will also have the ability to issue naloxone protocols through their medical director or health commissioner.

House Bill 4 passed with unanimous support on the House floor and it will now head to the Senate for further consideration.

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