New Law Makes Narcan More Available to Combat Opioid Overdoses
It has become abundantly clear that the abuse of opioids has become an epidemic in Connecticut as well as the nation. While possession of opioids and other controlled substances carries criminal penalties, the use of opioids also subjects the user to the risk of overdose and even death.
Opioids include illegal drugs such as heroin as well as a number of prescription medications such as codeine, oxycodone (prescribed as Oxycontin, Percodan, or Percocet) and hydrocodone (prescribed as Vocodin, Lortab, or Norco). An overdose of an illicit drug such as heroin occurs when a person deliberately misuses the drug. An overdose of a prescription medication occurs when a person takes a medication prescribed for someone else. Overdoses of both types occur when a person combines an opioid with alcohol or other medications that depress the user’s heart and breathing rates.
Naloxone—known as Narcan—reverses the effects of opioids and has proven to be a useful tool in reducing opioid overdose deaths. In 2012, a Connecticut law paved the way for prescribers to give Narcan prescriptions to anyone in close contact with an opioid addict. A new law has been enacted this year making Narcan more available for use helping those who overdose on opioids.
The new law grants civil and criminal liability protection to a person who, in good faith, administers Narcan to someone he believes is experiencing an opioid overdose. Before enactment of the law, only licensed healthcare practitioners could administer Narcan without civil or criminal liability.
In conjunction with the new law, Connecticut State Police Troopers have been provided with Narcan and trained in the skills needed to administer it to people experiencing an overdose. This has already had a positive impact, because a week after beginning to carry Narcan, a state trooper used it to save an overdose victim's life in Griswold. It was the first instance of a state trooper administering the drug since the new law went into effect. There are plans to extend furnishing the drug and providing training to local police officers, firefighters, and other first responders.
If you or a loved one are suffering from opioid addiction, the increasing availability of Narcan is some relief, but getting help is of utmost importance for health and legal reasons. For assistance with the legal implications of drug possession, contact an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner, located in Stamford.