Heroin Overdose Drug Measure to MA Governor's Desk
One day several years ago, Bridgewater resident Steve Wohlen was lying on his front lawn, turning blue, barely breathing. He was overdosing on heroin. His mother, Linda, ran outside, dropped to her knees, and sprayed two squirts of a drug called Narcan up her son’s nose. What happened next sounds like a miracle:
Narcan or its generic naloxone can bring people back from potentially fatal overdoses. It counteracts the effects of heroin, OxyContin and other powerful painkillers. And has been used by ambulance crews and emergency rooms for decades.
But now Massachusetts lawmakers want to allow doctors to prescribe the drug directly to addicts and their family members.
But Maryanne Frangules from the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction and Recovery doesn’t think that’s likely. She says this provision could save thousands of lives:
"We have a real horrendous epidemic of opiates and other drugs in our state. We lost 4,500 hundred lives to opioid and opiate overdoses from 2002 – 2009. And this is one measure that’s moving towards supporting prevention, treatment and recovery."
The Narcan provision is part of an omnibus crime and sentencing bill. It was passed by the Legislature this week and is in front of the Governor for his consideration.