Georgia House passes naloxone vending machines bill

State Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, is the sponsor of House Bill 1035, which would use vending machines to distribute opioid-reversal drugs to combat overdoses. She characterizes it as a lifesaving measure. “Are we encouraging drugs?” she asked. “No. Drug use is happening. As long as somebody’s alive, there is hope that we can get them off drugs. If they’re dead, there is no hope.” (Natrice Miller/ Natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

State Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, is the sponsor of House Bill 1035, which would use vending machines to distribute opioid-reversal drugs to combat overdoses. She characterizes it as a lifesaving measure. “Are we encouraging drugs?” she asked. “No. Drug use is happening. As long as somebody’s alive, there is hope that we can get them off drugs. If they’re dead, there is no hope.” (Natrice Miller/ Natrice.miller@ajc.com)

The Georgia House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill aimed at combating overdoses caused by stronger illicit opioids by making stronger opioid-reversal drugs more accessible.

House Bill 1035 would allow vending machines to dispense overdose drugs, such as Narcan, while protecting pharmacists from punishment for filling them up.

Republican state Rep. Sharon Cooper of Marietta, who sponsored the bill, said she hopes the proposal will save lives, especially among young people on college campuses. The vending machines would first be installed at Emory University.

She said HB 1035 would build on Georgia’s 911 Medical Amnesty Law, passed a decade ago, which states that if someone is using drugs or drinking illegally and experiences a medical emergency, no one will be criminally charged as long as another person calls 911 and stays with the person until help arrives and is not the drug dealer.

Cooper defended the reasoning for the establishment of vending machines to dispense opioid-reversal drugs as a lifesaving measure.

“Are we encouraging drugs?” she asked. “No. Drug use is happening. As long as somebody’s alive, there is hope that we can get them off drugs. If they’re dead, there is no hope.”

About the Author