More drug overdose victims can be saved by Naloxone in WV, docto - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

More drug overdose victims can be saved by Naloxone in WV, doctors say

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Naloxone is used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose, like heroin or hydrocodone. Naloxone is used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose, like heroin or hydrocodone.

Studies show West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the country.

Now, there are calls to allow all first responders to administer a life-saving drug to overdose victims.  The drug is called Naloxone, and is used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose, like heroin or hydrocodone.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, says every second counts towards saving your life when you overdose.

"The sooner you can revive those individuals, the chances are, first of all, they'll be revived and able to live," he says.

In West Virginia, only paramedics or doctors can give Naloxone to a victim. Gupta and other health professionals say that isn't good enough.

Some lawmakers are trying to get the law changed. During the last legislative session, Senator Ron Stollings and others introduced Senate Bill 27. This would amend the current law and allow any 'initial responder' to administer Naloxone.

Dr. Gupta says law enforcement agencies are often the first ones on an overdose scene.

Naloxone can buy a victim precious time, 30 to 45 minutes until they're taken to a hospital for further treatment.

Other states, including Kentucky, have enacted similar laws to make this life-saving drug available to anyone who is at a high risk for an overdose.

Gupta says Naloxone is typically given through an IV. However , there are safer ways for police, even the general public to give the drug, including through the muscle. There's even a nasal spray.

"It is not a very complex process. Think about epi-pens and how prevalent epi-pens are and liability issues that surround those," Gupta says.

Gupta says lawmakers can take care of any liability issues with Naloxone through 'Good Samaritan' laws. This would protect those who act in good faith to save the life of someone who is dying.

Lawmakers say they plan to reintroduce a bill similar to Senate Bill 27. The legislative session starts in January.