A bill meant to provide easier access to drug addiction recovery treatment, sponsored by Ohio House Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), was approved unanimously across party lines by the Ohio House on Wednesday.
House Bill 167, known as Daniel’s Law, allows pharmacists to dispense, and even administer, an emergency refill of naltrexone, known by its brand name Vivitrol, under “limited circumstances,” according to a release from Edwards’ office.
“The drug epidemic is devastating families and communities, and has cost thousands of Ohioans their lives,” Edwards said in a release. “These are not statistics. These are Ohioans, our constituents. We must use every tool we have at our disposal to counter this epidemic and save lives.”
According to the text of the bill, certain conditions must be met for a pharmacist to provide the Vivitrol, which, when combined with counseling and other services, has proven effective in treating individuals who are addicted to opiates. It works by blocking receptors in the brain so users don’t feel cravings and won’t get a high even if they take opioids. It’s administered once a month as a shot.
The bill notes that pharmacists can only provide the Vivitrol if the pharmacist is able to verify a record of a prescription for the drug, and only if the drug is “necessary to continue the patient’s therapy for substance use disorder,” among other requirements.
Edwards said in the release that the bill is named after Daniel Weidle, who suffered a fatal drug overdose after allegedly being unable to access his Vivitrol prescription. “Daniel had been receiving a monthly Vivitrol injection and had been opioid-free for eight months when a routine doctor’s appointment was cancelled,” the release reads. “He and his father were unable to find another physician to administer Daniel’s Vivitrol injection, and Daniel lost his battle with addiction.”
HB 167 now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, whose office has its own Vivitrol treatment program, said Friday that the bill is a step in the right direction.
“Vivitrol coupled with counseling is the best form of medically assisted treatment for opiate addiction,” Blackburn said. “We need to increase access and limit the hurdles to people who are fighting to overcome addiction. This is a positive step to increasing the availability of Vivitrol.”
Original article here.