Schuitmaker, Forlini bills allow pharmacies to dispense lifesaving drug

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Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker and state Rep. Anthony Forlini have introduced legislation that would increase a pharmacy’s ability to dispense Naloxone, a medication used to reverse the side effects of an opioid overdose.

“Opioid addiction has affected every community across our entire state,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Especially in recent years, prescription drug and heroin overdoses have surged, and this legislation seeks to curb the problem by making Naloxone more widely accessible to those who need it.”

Senate Bill 778 and House Bill 5326 would allow pharmacies in the state of Michigan to dispense Naloxone in a similar fashion to that of decongestants containing pseudoephedrine. Under Michigan law, those who purchase these medications, such as Sudafed, must show proper identification and have their names entered into a Michigan State Police database.

“The overdose death rate in Michigan is nearly double that of the national level,” Schuitmaker said. “Last year, I introduced legislation that allows emergency personnel and family members of an at-risk individual to possess and administer Naloxone, which has been proven to rapidly reverse the effects of an overdose. Allowing pharmacies the ability to prescribe this medicine to friends and family members of those suffering from addiction will assist our efforts to combat this epidemic and help save lives.”

SB 778 and HB 5326 were introduced as a result of the recommendations released by the Governor’s Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force. The task force was responsible for holding public hearings and gathering input from experts involved with the growing problem of prescription drug and opioid abuse in Michigan.

“Every one of us has a family member, neighbor or friend that has seen the effects of addiction,” said Forlini, R-Harrison Township. “In my lifetime this is the worst it’s ever been, and it cuts across every social, cultural, and economic corner of our society.”

SB 778 and HB 5326 have each been referred to the Health Policy Committee of their respective chamber.