Naloxone, more commonly known by the brand name Narcan, can temporarily block the effects of heroin, OxyContin and other painkillers.

Gov. Deal expands access to drug used to fight opiod overdoses

Georgians will soon have more access to a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses.

Gov. Nathan Deal asked that naloxone, an emergency drug used to reverse the effects of opioids like heroin and oxycodone, be removed from the state’s list of prohibited drugs. He also asked state health officials to allow naloxone to be dispended over-the-counter by pharmacists across Georgia.

“We are now building upon our previous efforts to expand access to naloxone for first responders and others who regularly encounter overdoses as they are occurring by placing this tool in the hands of Georgians, especially parents, who are both firsthand witnesses and victims of opioid overdose,” he said.

Opioids are contributing to an overdose crisis that killed about a thousand people a year in Georgia between 2006 and 2014. Those deaths involved drugs of all kinds, though most were tied to heroin and prescription painkillers such as fentanyl.

Deal signed legislation in 2014 making Georgia the 19th state to extend legal protections to those who administer naloxone to someone experiencing an overdose. The governor said he plans to introduce additional legislation next year to fight the heroin epidemic, though he didn’t say how.

Read more about the epidemic in Georgia on myajc.com.

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