State Rep. Helena Moreno Amends Bill to Expand Access to Life-Saving Meds

Moreno’s bill allows safe, life-saving medicines to be dispensed without prescriptions

State Representative Helena Moreno (District 93, New Orleans) amended HB1007 today to expand access to life saving medications by allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone or another opiod antagonist without prescriptions. These safe rescue medicines block or reverse the effects of opioids, including heroin and many pain killers.

“The misuse of opioids is a national epidemic, and unintentional deaths caused by overdosing have been on the rise in New Orleans and across Louisiana,” said Rep. Moreno, who is sponsoring the bill. “This simple step can prevent dozens of those deaths, giving people a chance to seek the help they need to recover.”

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health and Welfare and is expected to progress to the floor next week.

Naloxone is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a prescription drug, but when HB1007 becomes law, Louisiana will join more than 20 states where naloxone is available without a prescription.

Orleans Parish Coroner Jeffrey Rouse recently released data that showed 43 people in New Orleans died of accidental heroin overdoses last year. Neighboring Jefferson Parish recorded 67 heroin overdose fatalities over the same period, and St. Tammany recorded 17. This is an alarming spike compared to the 10 heroin overdose fatalities recorded statewide in 2009.