Oregon Takes a Big Step to Battle Opioid Overdoses

By Steve Buckstein

For a variety of reasons, many Americans are becoming addicted to both legal and illegal opioid drugs, risking overdose and death.

Oregon just made it easier for friends and family members of those at risk to save their lives by administering what is known as the “overdose drug” naloxone. It “counteracts the potentially lethal effects of heroin, oxycodone and other abused narcotics.” It has become relatively easy to use in the form of a nasal mist and does not require a physician prescription.

Passed overwhelmingly in both the Oregon House and Senate, House Bill 3440 was signed into law by the Governor last week. Among other provisions, the law shields persons “acting in good faith, if the act does not constitute wanton misconduct” from “civil liability for any act or omission of an act committed during the course of distributing and administering naloxone….”

Adoption of such so-called “good Samaritan” laws in a number of states has been found to reduce opioid-related deaths.

Some critics believe that such laws encourage drug use and hamper law enforcement efforts. But, if fighting the drug war comes at the expense of lives that could readily be saved, Oregonians should reject that war, and celebrate laws that make it easier to help those harmed by dangerous drugs.

Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and Founder of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

  • Oregon Engineer

    “But, if fighting the drug war comes at the expense of lives that could readily be saved, Oregonians should reject that war,” Agree. and while we are at it lets reject the federal war on drugs. after billions of tax dollars spent, countless lives ruined by being convicted of possession for simple usage, with little proof that the Federal government is ‘winning the war on drugs”, or even states, it is time to end the war. instead use the money such Portugal and other countries have done by decriminalization of usage and provide free rehabilitation for those who voluntarily choose to do so. And to you (Ex Senator Whitseitt et al) who are under the propagandized belief that this will result in the explosion of drug use it actual reduces drug use and associated crimes. https://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html