WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R.-W.Va.) continues her work to combat drug overdoses in West Virginia. Every day, 120 people die as a result of drug overdoses fueled by prescription painkillers. Between 2000 and 2013, the rate of death from heroin overdoses nearly quadrupled. Nationwide, drug overdoses now claim more lives than motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, the willingness of individuals to administer opioid overdose prevention drugs may be deterred by the potential for a lawsuit. And the willingness of physicians who are authorized to prescribe opioid overdose drugs to persons other than a patient also may be deterred by potential civil liability.
“One of my top priorities in the U.S. Senate will be to address West Virginia’s growing addiction to heroin and prescription drugs and subsequent overdoses,” said Sen. Capito. “To tackle this epidemic, we need to ensure that our first responders, health professionals and family members have the resources and training they need to treat overdoses when they occur. I am pleased to support this bipartisan legislation and look forward to working with officials in West Virginia and at the federal level to combat drug abuse.”
Last week, Sen. Capito co-sponsored The Opioid Overdose Reduction Act introduced by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to protect first responders, health professionals and family members who are educated in administering an opioid overdose prevention drug, such as naloxone (also known as Narcan) in an emergency situation of overdose. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.
The Opioid Overdose Prevention Act exempts from civil liability: