MACo Endorses Increased Access to Overdose Prevention Medication

MACo Associate Director, Natasha Mehu, provided written testimony in support of House Bill 791, “Overdose Response Program – Prescribing and Dispensing of Naloxone – Noncertificate Holders,” to the House Health and Government Operations Committee on February 21, 2017.

HB 791 authorizes naloxone to be prescribed, dispensed, received, possessed, or administered to an individual that has not received training or certification through an overdose response program. Currently, community members must receive hands-on training and certification through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH) Overdose Response Program (ORP) in order to receive the life-saving medication without a prescription. The bill will make it easier for community members to have access to naloxone in cases where they are unable to attend a training through the ORP.

From MACo testimony:

Opioid abuse and addiction continues to be a major public health crisis affecting the welfare of millions of people across the nation. In Maryland, opioid-related deaths and usage continue to rise in epidemic proportions. Naloxone is a safe means of saving lives. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help prevent overdoses by opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone by blocking opioid receptor sites, reversing the toxic effects of the overdose. It is not a controlled dangerous substance. There are no adverse effects from use nor does it have any potential for abuse, physical dependence, or overdose. It will neither help nor cause harm if used on someone who is not overdosing from opioids.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.