News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Wilson
For Immediate Release: March 16, 2017

Senate Supports Effort to Combat Opioid Epidemic

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JUNEAU – Today, the Alaska State Senate passed a measure to support the state’s effort to combat Alaska’s opioid epidemic.

Senate Bill 91 authorizes the Chief Medical Officer in Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to issue a standing order – including a statewide standing order – for the prescription and distribution of an opioid overdose drug through June 30, 2021.

“Naloxone, also recognized by its name brand, NARCAN, is an opioid overdose drug that is known to save lives,” said Sen. David Wilson (R-Wasilla), chair of the Senate Health & Social Services Committee.

On February 14, 2017, Governor Bill Walker declared the state’s opioid epidemic a public health disaster. That declaration allows the governor to take action within the scope of 30 days. The bill grants standing orders throughout the life of the grant, making it unnecessary to extend the disaster beyond 30 days.

“SB 91 saves lives,” said Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage). “These are real people who are broken and need our help. We all know the devastating effects of domestic violence, adverse childhood trauma, teenagers turning to drugs – all looking to chemicals to ease their pain.”

The bill also requires the DHSS to submit an annual report to the Legislature describing activities and expenditures related to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration grants.

“This remedy gives those people, on the doorstep of death, a second chance,” said Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage). “Their pathway is rocky but we must stand ready to help. SB 91 allows the state to distribute these vital kits, provide training for potential life savers for the next five years while we simultaneously work diligently to reduce the ravaging effects of opioid addiction in Alaska.”

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

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