Wisconsin Officials Say Good Samaritan Law Could Reduce Opioid Overdose Deaths

A report by Wisconsin’s State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse urges lawmakers to pass a Good Samaritan Law to reduce opioid overdose deaths. The law would allow a person with a prescription for the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to use it on a friend.

Currently it is against the law for a person with a naloxone prescription to use the drug on a friend or someone else experiencing an opioid overdose who does not have a prescription, the Journal Sentinel reports. The proposed measure would offer limited immunity to a person trying to help someone who is overdosing. The immunity would cover only possession of drugs at the scene of the overdose, or use of an opioid overdose antidote.

Heroin overdoses are on the rise in Wisconsin, the article notes.

Many doctors in the state are reluctant to write prescriptions for naloxone, sold as Narcan, because it is likely to be used on a person without a prescription, the report notes.

Nationwide, naloxone is being more widely distributed to people who use drugs. Naloxone safely reverses the potentially fatal side effects of an overdose of oxycodone, heroin and other opioids. It has been routinely used by emergency rooms and ambulance crews for decades. Naloxone is not effective in treating drug overdoses that do not involve opioids.