ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York lawmakers have passed a bill to boost the availability of a drug that reverses heroin overdoses.
The bipartisan measure would allow health care professionals to provide orders for naloxone to certified training programs and pharmacies.
Pharmacists would then be able to issue naloxone kits to anyone at risk of an overdose or their caretaker and instruct them on how to administer the drug. Naloxone is marketed under the name Narcan.
The legislation comes at a time where heroin deaths in the state have more than doubled from 215 in 2008 to 478 in 2012, a trend that’s expected to increase.
The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A Cuomo spokesman didn’t initially comment Wednesday on whether the governor will sign the bill.
The practice of equipping people with Narcan has been growing in popularity amid the surge of heroin overdose deaths. Last month, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a program that would let every state and local law enforcement officer to carry the antidote.
Meanwhile, a pilot program in New Jersey’s Ocean and Monmouth counties is training police administer nasal shots of naloxone, and Connecticut lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow all first responders to carry the drug.
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