The case of Stephanie Bon­giovi makes the argu­ment for broader Good Samar­itan laws and the wider use of the over­dose anti­dote naloxone.

In the cur­rent issue of the Journal of the Amer­ican Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion (JAMA), researchers call for wider adop­tion of Good Samar­itan laws and fed­eral action to facil­i­tate the dis­tri­b­u­tion of naloxone to treat vic­tims of heroin or prescription-​​painkiller overdoses.

But it’s not simply the legal ram­i­fi­ca­tions that are thwarting efforts to change over­dose treat­ment. Naloxone’s cost and prescription-​​only status may also keep it from being used more widely. It is cur­rently a pre­scrip­tion drug that is only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion in its injectable form, and since injectable med­ica­tions need to be sterile, they are gen­er­ally more expen­sive to make and buy. Short­ages in these drugs are also a growing problem. “The pro­duc­tion process for ‘sterile injecta­bles’ like naloxone is prone to any number of prob­lems — of which the recent meningitis-​​contamination horror story is an extreme example,” explains Leo Beletsky, lead author of the study and assis­tant pro­fessor of law and health sci­ences at North­eastern University.

 

Read the article at Time →