Drug overdose is a nationwide epidemic that claims the lives of over 43,000 Americans every year. More than 2,600 Floridians were killed by drug overdose in 2012. The majority of these deaths were due to prescription opioids such as OxyContin and hydrocodone, which now account for more overdose deaths than heroin, cocaine, and alcohol combined.
Opioid overdose is typically reversible through the timely administration of naloxone, a medication that blocks the effects of opioids in the brain, and the provision of other emergency care as necessary. However, some current laws limit access to naloxone by making it difficult for those likely to be in a position to aid an overdose victim to access the medication. Existing law can also discourage those witnessing an overdose from calling for help.
Florida has passed two laws aimed at increasing emergency medical care for overdose victims. The first, the “911 Good Samaritan Act,” was passed in 2012 and went into effect on October 1st of that year. The second, passed in 2015, aims to increase access to naloxone – an overdose reversal drug - in the community.