Del. bill to expand resources ahead of expected FDA opioid antagonist approval
DELAWARE – As Delaware continues its fight against the opioid epidemic, lawmakers are trying to make sure the state is better equipped to handle it.
Senate Bill 292 looks to do just that, as the FDA is expected to approve a new opioid antagonist before the end of 2022. “Up until now, all we’ve had that’s FDA approved is Narcan or Naloxone,” said bill sponsor State Senator Stephanie Hansen.
Sen. Hansen says the new drug works differently than Naloxone. She says, as a result, it could save precious minutes as someone is experiencing an overdose. “It’s longer acting than Narcan. So, it’s going to be more helpful for those who are in an overdose state, because it will better match the duration of the state that they will be in,” she said. “People can overdose, be given Narcan, come out of the overdose state, but then the Narcan wears off and they can go back into an overdose state again.”
Senate Bill 292 would expand the First State’s Naloxone training programs to accommodate the new drug. “This enlarges the current Narcan training program to be the opioid antagonist training program. These trainings are available every month through the state division of substance abuse and mental health,” said Sen. Hansen.
The bill also clarifies who is protected from liability when administering opioid antagonists. Sen. Hansen says that includes physicians, physician assistants, advanced care registered nurses, pharmacists, first responders and public safety personnel. It also accounts for “lay people” who have received proper training.
“As a lay person administering Naloxone, you’ll have protection. So will the first responders, so do health care practitioners, and pharmacists would would be dispensing this,” said Sen. Hansen. “It’s important to get out the information that we have the next level of opioid reversal drugs coming out. Get the training.”
The bill will be heard on the Senate floor Tuesday. Sen. Hansen says she is confident it will pass, allowing some of the most vulnerable Delawareans to have a greater chance at survival. “This is actually kind of our next step in the treatment of opioid overdose in our state,” she said. “We’re making progress. Every little bit is progress. And this isn’t juts a little bit. This could be really significant.”