FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Those who overdose on heroin or other opioid drugs in Kentucky’s largest population areas would be immediately detained by first responders and taken to a hospital under a bill that has passed the House.
House Bill 428, sponsored by Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser, R-Taylor Mill, would specifically apply to overdose victims in Lexington, Louisville, or areas like Northern Kentucky where adjoining counties each have populations over 90,000.
Moser, who is the director of the Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, said the need for the bill was brought to her attention by first responders who she said are often called to resuscitate the same person for opioid overdose multiple times. Moser said there were over 15,100 emergency medical runs requiring resuscitation due to opioid overdoses in Kentucky last year, not counting more than 2,000 runs in Jefferson County alone.
First responders “brought this issue to me because they are unable to get the folks into treatment when they are resuscitated,” said Moser. “These folks wake up and they are able to just get up and walk away and refuse treatment” even though she said they may still be under the influence of drugs.
“They need to get to a hospital for stabilization, referral to treatment and further treatment and this is what this bill seeks to do,” said Moser.
Failure to receive appropriate treatment for opioid overdose often leads to death, with 1,404 deaths from opioid overdose reported in Kentucky in 2016 alone, said Moser.
“Death is a distinct possibility with opioid overdoses,” she said.
HB 428 passed the House on a 92-3 vote. It now goes to the Senate for its consideration.