The Alaska Senate today unanimously passed a bill extending access to Naloxone, a life-saving drug that rapidly reverses opioid overdoses. It was the first bill to pass either house in the Legislature during the 32nd Legislature.
Senate Bill 70, sponsored by Sen. David Wilson of Wasilla, allows the chief medical officer of the Department of Health and Social Services to continue issuing a statewide standing order for the prescription of naloxone.
Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink currently has this authority, but without this legislation, her authority would sunset on June 30, 2021. By removing the sunset date, local and regional overdose response programs, first responders, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and the public will continue to have the ability to directly distribute and access the lifesaving drug.
“This legislation benefits Alaska by saving lives,” said Wilson, chairman of the Senate Health & Social Services Committee. “This translates to a direct costs savings to emergency services. It gives people who may overdose a greater chance of living and gives them an opportunity to get into treatment. It also goes without saying that this legislation benefits the many friends and family members of people who would die of an overdose without this lifesaving medication.”
Some 309 Alaskan lives were saved by naxalone since the Project Hope initiative started in 2017.
The medication is paid for entirely with federal funds and the drug is not a controlled substance, and has no risk of abuse or addiction.
SB 70 passed the Senate by a vote of 18-0, and is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.