New Canaan Rep. O’Dea Supports Bill Expanding Use Of Anti-Overdose Drug

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State Reps. Tom O'Dea (R-New Canaan) and Gerald Fox, III (D-Stamford) are garnering support for a bill that would provide legal immunity for administering an opioid antagonist drug to an overdosing individual.
State Reps. Tom O'Dea (R-New Canaan) and Gerald Fox, III (D-Stamford) are garnering support for a bill that would provide legal immunity for administering an opioid antagonist drug to an overdosing individual. Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. -- State Reps. Tom O'Dea (R-New Canaan) and Gerald Fox III (D-Stamford) gained support for a bill that would provide legal immunity for administering an opioid antagonist drug to an overdosing individual. 

O’Dea and Fox met recently with representatives from the Connecticut Prevention Network to discuss Raised House Bill No. 5487. The bill "would provide legal immunity to anyone who administers a drug called an 'opioid antagonist' to a person experiencing an overdose," according to a press release. 

"When administered quickly and correctly, the opioid antagonist drug naloxone rapidly restores a victim’s breathing and reverses the effects of an overdose of heroin or other opioids, such as prescription painkillers," according to the release. 

Currently, licensed health care professionals can administer the overdose countermeasure without fear of facing civil or criminal prosecution, according to the release. O’Dea, who introduced the measure through the state House’s Judiciary Committee, believes that "legislation is necessary to protect any and all first-responders who administer naloxone from law suits or prosecution," according to the release. 

“A lot of these cases of heroin abuse and deaths start with abuse of painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin – when people run out of ways to get the prescription meds, too often they turn to heroin,” said O’Dea in the release. “The rising number of deaths from these drugs in Connecticut is extremely alarming, and allowing non-physicians to carry and administer naloxone is an easy way to avoid unnecessary tragedies like the ones we’ve been seeing all too often.”

Seventeen states and Washington D.C. have increased access to naloxone by amending their states’ laws, according to the release. 

“We had a lot of people come in today to testify in favor of the measure, and I am confident that the legislature will pass the bill easily, and without significant opposition,” Fox said in the release. “Saving lives by allowing non-medical personnel to carry and administer a drug that has been around for decades is a no-brainer, and hopefully a step toward solving this epidemic we are experiencing.”

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