Updated: 04/08/2014 3:34 PM
Created: 04/08/2014 2:56 PM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart
A bill aimed at putting an antidote to heroin and opiate overdoses in the hands of more first responders in Minnesota passed unanimously in the state Senate Tuesday.
The legislation expands the use of naloxone, the antidote, to emergency crews and citizens. During a heroin overdose, opioids block too many receptors in the brain, which makes the person stop breathing. When the naloxone goes in, it takes the place of the opioids so the person can breathe normally.
First responders will be equipped with Narcan, a brand of naloxone.
Narcan is currently only available through a prescription and must be administered by a health care professional. According to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, 16 states currently equip law enforcement with Narcan, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is helping to push the availability of Narcan after the county saw a record number of 56 overdoses.
The bill, dubbed "Steve's Law," also encourages people to call 911 in the event of a possible overdose by stating the caller is free from criminal prosecution.