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Bill passes legislature letting people buy heroin overdose treatment

Missouri lawmakers have passed a measure making it easier to buy medicine that treats and revives victims of heroin or painkiller overdoses. The House voted 147-2 Tuesday to let pharmacists sell naloxone, commonly known as Narcan.

The bill cleared the Senate in April with a 29-0 vote, and it now heads to the governor.

Naloxone currently requires a prescription to purchase. It can be injected or inhaled.

Bill sponsor Steve Lynch said getting the medicine into the hands of drug users’ friends or family members could save their lives.

However, Dr. Chadd Kraus of the University Hospital says that it is not a permanent fix, “The most important thing about Narcan administration to remember is that the drug begins to wear off within the half an hour, so when the patient receives the medication its very, very important that they’re taken to the nearest emergency department for further support, evaluation and potentially additional doses of the medication.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Missouri had 1,067 drug overdose deaths in 2014, and most came from opiates.

If Governor Nixon signs the bill it will be put in effect in August.

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