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Senate Bill 23 Garners Unanimous Support from Members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2016

Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 23 by a vote of 36-0.  The bill, sponsored by Senator Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage), passed the Alaska Senate last year by a vote of 19-1. 

“This piece of legislation is an example of lawmakers from both bodies and both sides of the aisle coming together to address the growing epidemic of heroin use in Alaska,” said Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage).  “The bill will make it legal for health care providers and individuals to administer the anti-overdose drug Naloxone, which has been approved for use in 29 other states.”

Heroin use has been documented in every region of Alaska, and last year 76 Alaskans died as a result of overdosing on opioids, including heroin.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Naloxone prevented over eight thousand heroin overdose deaths in 2013.

“The use of Naloxone is widely supported by health care and public safety professionals as a way to immediately reverse an overdose,” said House Health and Social Services Committee member Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage).  “Naloxone is not addictive and has no potential for abuse.  Rather, it is a life-saving drug.  I’m thankful the Alaska Legislature has recognized that fact by passing this important bill, which can give families and friends of an addict hope in an emergency.”

In addition to making Naloxone available for use in Alaska, SB 23 also relieves health care providers, family, and friends from civil liability when dispensing or administering the drug.   

SB 23 will now be sent to Governor Bill Walker for his signature.

For more information, contact Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.

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