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Bill Would Put Heroin Overdose Antidote in Hoosier’s Hands

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INDIANAPOLIS – Another central Indiana police department will give its officers a new tool to save people overdosing on heroin.

Columbus Police will begin later this month issuing Naloxone rescue kits to officers and training them on how to use the medicine. The medication, also known as Narcan, reverses the effects of an overdose.

Some Indianapolis Metro police officers started carrying Narcan kits last year. Now, a proposed bill – if passed – could give you the right to have access to Narcan, too.

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Senator Jim Merritt

Justin Phillips’ message has been heard loud and clear – deaths caused by heroin overdoses don’t have to happen.

“I hoped this day would come. I didn’t think it would come this quick. I thought it was going to take us a couple of years at least,” Phillips said.Just a few months after Phillips’ tireless efforts to get the life-saving heroin antidote Narcan into the hands of EMTs, the State Legislature will consider a new bill that expands its reach. State Senator Jim Merritt is the sponsor.
“It will allow a citizen to go into a physician’s office to get a prescription to allow that citizen to administer Narcan to one of their family members or one of their neighbors in the case of an overdose from heroin,” said Merritt.

Merritt is Phillips’ neighbor. 

“You just think about all the families who have survived an almost suicide with heroin that you want to help them somehow,” Merritt said.

This legislative move is very personal for a mother who lost her own son to a heroin overdose.

“It’s not about telling your kid it’s okay to use, it’s about telling your kid you want to save their life,” said Phillips.

In 2013, there were 110 heroin overdoses in Indianapolis alone. By mid-June 2014, there were over 60 deaths. Supporters say their loved ones would not be a statistic if they had had access to Narcan.

“People make mistakes. And the mistake shouldn’t be your final one,” Merritt said.

While the cost of Narcan has risen, Justin’s new fight will be able to make sure that families can afford the drug. But first, she’s praying that the state legislature will pass “Aaron’s Law,” named in honor of her son.

“It would be such an honor,” said Phillips.

“What would that mean to you?” asked Eyewitness News Anchor Andrea Morehead.

“Just allow Aaron to still continue to make a difference and that’s kind of who he was. Despite his difficult choices that he made, he was always such a champion,” Phillips said.

“So his legacy will live on?” asked Morehead.

“Hmm, hmm..yeah!” Phillips replied.

Merritt plans to file the bill this week followed by a committee hearing. To learn more, visit www.overdose-lifeline.org.

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