Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Dr. Sarah Spencer, a primary care doctor at the Ninilchik Clinic in Ninilchik, Alaska, demonstrates how Naloxone would be administered. Naloxone, which can temporarily stop the effects of a drug overdose to allow an overdose patient time to get medical treatment, will be able to obtain the medication directly from pharmacists if a bill passes the Alaska Senate and is signed by the governor.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Dr. Sarah Spencer, a primary care doctor at the Ninilchik Clinic in Ninilchik, Alaska, demonstrates how Naloxone would be administered. Naloxone, which can temporarily stop the effects of a drug overdose to allow an overdose patient time to get medical treatment, will be able to obtain the medication directly from pharmacists if a bill passes the Alaska Senate and is signed by the governor.

Overdose meds bill passes house

Those seeking to provide drugs that counteract opioid overdoses are a step closer to being able to do so without liability.

The Alaska House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that removes legal barriers for those providing the medication, which blocks the effects of an overdose to allow a patient more time to get medical help.

Introduced in the last session by Sen. Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage), SB 23 provides immunity to those prescribing Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan.

“A person is not liable for civil damages resulting from an act or omission in prescribing or providing an opioid overdose drug to a person at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose or to a family member, friend, caregiver, or other person,” the bill states.

The bill passed unanimously, 36-0.

The state of Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula have seen a spike in opioid use in the form of heroin over the last several years along with an increase in heroin-related deaths. From 2008 to 2013, 72 people in the state died with heroin listed as either the main or contributing cause, according to a 2015 report released by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

The bill has been amended since it passed the Senate last year, and so has to make its way through the Senate again for final approval before it goes to Gov. Bill Walker’s desk to be signed.

Some Fred Meyer pharmacies in the Lower 48 have adopted a pilot program to allow their pharmacists to prescribe Naloxone after undergoing some training. Melissa Hansen, pharmacy sales manager for Fred Meyer, said the chain is seeking to move the pilot program into its Alaska pharmacy locations once the bill is signed by the governor and the state’s Board of Pharmacy settles on its rules and regulations.

“That’s definitely our plan,” she said, adding that the program is “in four states, and every state we’re in is totally different.”

Those who wish to obtain the drugs will first have to fill out an intake form, after which pharmacists will run the prescription, Hansen said.

“What we do is we’ll dispense Naloxone and Narcan to either a … user or somebody we would say is at risk for witnessing an overdose,” she said.

Those purchasing the drugs also must undergo consultations with the pharmacists, who will be trained to coach friends and family on how to administer the drug and how to recognize an overdose, she said.

“We know that this is a big problem in a lot of communities around the country and so we want to be part of the solution,” Hansen said.

The timeframe for when the pilot program could make its way into Alaska’s Fred Meyer locations depends on how long it takes the bill to make it to the governor’s desk and on how long the Board of Pharmacy takes to identify its rules for pharmacist training, she said.

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Soldotna Police Chief Dale “Gene” Meek stands in his office on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna police chief resigns

The resignation was effective immediately on Friday, City Manager Janette Bower confirmed Monday

A sign along a trail to Exit Glacier marks the spot to where the toe of the glacier reached in 2010, photographed on June 22, 2018. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Exit Glacier reopened for summer, snow and bears reported

Visitors should check the park website for updated conditions and ensure they are prepared before visiting the area

Dale Chorman stands with his wife, Dianne. (Photo provided by Tom Kizzia)
Long-time Homer resident, photographer dead after Sunday moose encounter

Troopers on Monday identified the victim as 70-year-old Dale Chorman

A sign warning of a June 28, 2021, bear attack is placed at the head of the Kenai River Trail on Skilak Loop Road in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Federal wildlife officers seek information about early-May black bear poaching

Officials think the poaching happened near the east entrance of Skilak Loop roughly 2 miles from Jims’ Landing

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Ninilchik woman dead after Tuesday collision

The woman was attempting to cross the Sterling Highway from Oil Well Road when she was struck by a pickup truck

Graduates listen to Connections Homeschool Principal Doug Hayman speak during the school’s commencement ceremony on Thursday in Soldotna. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Graduates listen to Connections Homeschool Principal Doug Hayman speak during the school’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Expect a lot from yourself and from others’

Connections Homeschool students accept diplomas at commencement ceremony

Most Read