Bill Passes Allowing Third Party Access To Opiate Antidote

Mar 7, 2014

A bill that would allow for the dispensing and administration of an opiate antidote has been given final approval and now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

A bill allowing doctors to prescribe an opiate antidote to third party individuals so that they can help in the case of an overdose passed in Utah's legislature this week.
Credit Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Bill sponsor Sen. Brian Shiozawa said he hopes the bill will save a significant number of lives.

"There are so many narcotic slash opiate related deaths in this state—over 500 last year," said Shiozawa. "Most of these occur at home, most of them are accidental and as a result that’s the reason people need this very lifesaving antidote at their disposal."

The bill allows doctors to prescribe the antidote—called Naloxone—to third party individuals, such as family and friends of opiate users, so that they can help in the case of an overdose.

Shiozawa said, unlike many similar drugs, Naloxone is relatively safe.

"It’s an antidote that is relatively inexpensive, it can be safely given, it has virtually no downsides or side effects—a child could take it and it wouldn’t hurt them," said Shiozawa. 

Shiozawa added that he hopes the drug will act as a safety measure that, if used, would increase the likelihood of survival between when 911 is called and paramedics arrive.