Overdose Prevention Bill Awaits Governor\'s Signature

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COLUMBIA - A bill that would allow first responders to use the drug NARCAN to prevent heroin overdoses is waiting on Gov. Nixon's signature before it can hit the streets.

The Missouri Legislature passed a bill Wednesday that would give first responders the go-ahead to use the drug. 

NARCAN is known to save lives by working in less than 60 seconds. 

The drug is currently available in an injectable form as well as a nasal spray.

Since many times there is no way for emergency responders to know how lethal a dose of heroin has been, NARCAN is known to prevent the deaths of people who may have taken too much of the drug.

Opponents of NARCAN worry the drug may encourage risky behavior, because they say people will not worry about the consequences of their actions. 

The Boone County Sheriff's Department said it does not have plans to carry the drug, because it takes training to administer. The department said other emergency responders may carry it and use it when needed.

"We work very well in tandem with local fire and EMS responders who are in the county and are oftentimes on the scene just as quickly if not faster than law enforcement," Major Tom Reddin said. 

There is currently no word on whether Gov. Nixon plans to sign the bill.