Hawaii lawmakers propose bill to curb drug overdose epidemic

Hawaii lawmakers propose bill to curb drug overdose epidemic

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers are pushing a bill to increase access to a life-saving treatment that can reverse drug overdoses in minutes.

The bill would provide immunity for people who administer drugs like naloxone, which can reverse an overdose. It would protect doctors, pharmacists, emergency responders and outreach workers.

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in Hawaii, causing around 150 deaths each year.

The National Conference on State Legislatures says Hawaii is one of six states without a law providing immunity for those who administer opioid antagonists.

Government officials say overdoses caused by drugs such as heroin and prescription opioids like OxyContin are an epidemic. President Barack Obama recently announced a request for more than $1 billion in the new budget to fight drug abuse and overdoses.

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