Va. set to widen availability of life-saving opioid overdose drug

WASHINGTON — Virginia’s General Assembly is set to approve an emergency bill that would allow more access to a lifesaving opioid-overdose drug.

HB1453 would allow state-certified instructors who teach administering naloxone to also dispense the drug to those in their classes.

While more people are being trained to use the life-saving opioid-overdose reversal drug, getting access to that drug is limited.

In Virginia, the opioid crisis is officially an epidemic, and the bill is among a flurry of legislation trying to rein it in.

Ginny Lovitt played a big role in getting the bill created. One of the state’s Revive! program instructors, she lost her brother to the epidemic.

“What is really amazing is that it passed both chambers (of the General Assembly) unanimously, which for a stigmatized disease like addiction I think is pretty amazing,” Lovitt said.

The bill heads for a procedural vote before it goes to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk. But because it is an emergency bill, it becomes law as soon as the governor signs it.

Lovitt, who found her brother the day he overdosed, said she was thrilled that the bill is likely to pass. She said it will save lives not only by teaching people how to use the lifesaving drug but also by providing it.

About 26 other states allow their version of a Revive! Instructor to dispense naloxone, Lovitt said, and she expects that number to increase.

Lovitt founded the Chris Atwood Foundation in 2013 following the accidental overdose death of her 21 year-old brother.

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