Opioid addiction and Naloxone

All across the United States and Texas, drug abuse from opioids has caused thousands of deaths. While drug crimes are serious offenses in Texas, it is also important to focus on keeping people alive and helping them get clean and sober.

In Texas, the rate of overdose deaths increased 80 percent from 1999 to 2014. Prescription pain killers, heroin and other opioids are leading the way in overdose deaths. This past summer, the Texas legislature created a law which allows all pharmacists who take an hour-long training program to give out the drug naloxone. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication that halts the effects of an opioid overdose for 60 to 90 minutes. This creates a window of time where a person can receive emergency care and save their lives. Previously, the drug was only available to those who had a prescription. But, now the drug can be obtained by anyone at any pharmacy. The drug costs between $50 to $100 and is covered under Medicaid insurance.

Now that Naloxone is easily available for anyone it is hoped that it will prevent drug overdose deaths in Texas. The drug can be taken as a nasal spray, a pre-loaded shot or in a vial that can be given with a syringe. Anyone who is prescribed a prescription opioid pain killer should have this drug on hand just in case of an overdose. Texas does not have an overdose immunity law, but a person who has suffered from an overdose may be eligible for a drug diversion program.

Drug offenses are serious crimes in Texas, but the health and safety of the offender is more important. Access to Naloxone is a good first step in helping a drug user stay alive.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys know that there are many more factors at work in drug cases besides crime and punishment. A skilled defense lawyer can help those who are facing these charges to defend their freedom so they can get help if they need it.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, "Drug Overdoes Immunity and Good Samaritan Laws," accessed Feb. 9, 2017

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