White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske on Tuesday called for making naloxone, a drug that has been highly effective at reversing heroin overdoses, more widely available to emergency-care providers and other first responders, says the Los Angeles Times. Kerlikowske also urged states and local communities to pass “good Samaritan” laws to provide immunity from criminal prosecution to individuals who call for emergency help during an overdose.
During a conference call with reporters, Kerlikowske said that relying on law enforcement alone wouldn’t solve the problem and that the Obama administration was focused on treating addiction and preventing overdoses. He applauded Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s decision Tuesday to require that naloxone be carried by firefighters and police officers in addition to emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books that increased access to the antidote.