State Senate Approves Legislation To Increase Access To Naloxone

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The state senate has approved legislation, sponsored by Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) and Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville), to increase access to naloxone, the drug-overdose antidote to a variety of opiates, including heroin.  If timely administered, naloxone is specifically used to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system and has been highly successful in preventing overdose deaths. 

The bill is scheduled for a vote in the Civil Justice Subcommittee in the house of representatives on Wednesday.

“Drug overdoses are preventable and too many families are losing a race against time as they struggle to find help for their addicted loved ones,” said Senator Overbey.  “Unfortunately, many young people never make it through the doors of a treatment center to receive the drug.  This legislation allows a person, after receiving appropriate instruction, to administer the prescribed antidote to help avoid a tragedy.”

“Lifesaving if needed, harmless if not, naloxone is already widely used by healthcare providers around Tennessee--but imagine the horrified parent confronted with a child who has overdosed in their home; minutes count and their ability to give naloxone means the difference between a chance at recovery and the tragedy of a funeral,” said Tennessee Commissioner of Health, Dr. John Dreyzehner, “As we work to stem this deadly epidemic, improving access to naloxone will literally save lives of our children, parents, siblings and friends around Tennessee.”  

Senate Bill 1631 would authorize health care professionals to prescribe the drug naloxone to a person at risk of experiencing an opiate-related overdose.  It would also allow the physician to prescribe the drug to a family member, friend or other person in a position to assist a person experiencing an opiate-related overdose, as long as the doctor provides written communication establishing a factual basis that a person is at risk.  The bill provides a prescribing physician or person administering the drug immunity from civil liability.

“Over the last decade, drug addiction has become a widespread problem in our state, and in too many cases, this addiction leads to loss of life,” said Rep. Williams. “I believe we must do all we can to prevent such tragedies from taking place, and that is why I am sponsoring this legislation in the House.  Combined with other initiatives currently being worked on, we all truly hope this legislation provides families with another means of protecting their loved ones from the unfortunate reality of drug addiction.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that every 19 minutes, one person dies from an accidental overdose from prescription drug abuse.  Law enforcement authorities told lawmakers last month that heroin is on the rise in Tennessee.

“We are very pleased that this bill has been approved by the senate, and hopeful that it will pass the House and be signed into law,” Senator Overbey said.


Erlanger Opens Sixth Emergency Department To Serve Sequatchie Valley

Residents of the Sequatchie Valley are invited to tour the area’s only 24/7 emergency center during Open House festivities for the new Sequatchie Valley Emergency Department on Sunday from 2 - 4 p.m. (CDT), at 16931 Rankin Avenue in Dunlap, Tn. To celebrate the grand opening of the new emergency center, officials with Erlanger Health System will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony ... (click for more)

Morning Pointe Hosts Car Wash And Hot Dog Sale This Saturday

Morning Pointe of Chattanooga will be having a car wash and hot dog sale this Saturday from 8 a.m. – noon at the assisted living facility. All proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association.   (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Our’ American Minute

William J. Federer is one of the leading historians in the United States and every morning I am among thousands of people who get an entertaining email from him called the “American Minute.” I adore it because Bill takes a significant event in American history that happened long ago – but he remembers on the very anniversary of when it occurred. A great example is that last Thursday ... (click for more)