New opioid crisis measures take effect today

7 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Monday, August 28 2017 Aug 28, 2017 Monday, August 28, 2017 4:00:00 PM CDT August 28, 2017 in News
By: Jordan Smith, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY — New legislation that aims to curtail the opioid epidemic in Missouri took effect Monday. The legislation that Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law back in July adds new resources aimed at saving lives in the event of an overdose.

One of these new resources allows the Department of Health and Senior Services to maintain a designated amount of naloxone across the state. This new supply will allow anyone to receive a dosage of naloxone from a pharmacist without a prescription.

“Naloxone is a safe and effective drug that has saved countless lives,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services. “With this order, we are empowering the people of Missouri to intervene on behalf of family and friends in the event of an opioid overdose."

Williams also encouraged anyone who is at an increased risk of overdose to keep naloxone on hand in case of an emergency.

Those with opioid addictions will also have access to medication-assisted therapy, which was previously limited to those considered active drug users. This designation meant those struggling with addiction would be ineligible for rehabilitation-focused courts.

The law also added new provisions to the Good Samaritan law. Anyone can now call emergency services on behalf of themselves or someone else experiencing an overdose without arrest or penalties. This provision will prevent the victim and bystanders from possession charges.

“Our first responders are ready and able to respond but time has to be on their side if they’re going to be effective," Dr. Williams said. "Make the call and rest assured that our priority is to save lives, not pursue criminal charges. We think this is especially important for young people to remember."

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