Protecting First Responders is Crucial in Opioid Epidemic Battle

House Bill 924 would extend immunity protections to first responders and EMS personnel treating an individual for an opioid overdose, or what they believe is an opioid overdose. Administering naloxone, the overdose reversal drug, in multiple doses is sometimes necessary when an individual has overdosed on a particularly potent analog of an opioid (such as fentanyl). This legislation seeks to close a loophole in the immunity protections for those administering the care and would extend not only to the administration of one dose of naloxone, but multiple.

MACo Policy Associate Kevin Kinnally testified in support of HB 924, “Emergency Medical Care – Administration of Opioid Antidotes – Immunity”, before the House Health and Government Operations Committee on February 27, 2018. Counties believe that first responders and EMS personnel should be protected while administering life-saving to an individual experiencing an overdose.

From MACo Testimony:

The protections offered within the bill are not unprecedented. As the state continues to grapple with the opioid crisis, immunities have been put into place to ensure that those who are providing life-saving assistance – and are acting dutifully, responsibly, in good faith, and not grossly negligent administering that assistance – are not open to litigious action for the emergency care they provided.

As part of the continued effort to address opioid overdose deaths, civil immunity protections should be clarified to ensure that EMS providers who are trained and equipped to administer life-saving treatment for an overdose are properly protected for the care they provide.”

For more on opioid-related and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.