Opioid bill passes both the Senate and Assembly

TRENTON – The Senate and Assembly today passed bill S2082.

The bill establishes the “Opioid Antidote and Overdose Prevention Act.” The bill provides immunity from civil and criminal liability and professional discipline for health care professionals who prescribe or dispense naloxone or any similarly acting drug approved for the treatment of an opioid overdose.

The legislation would provide immunity from civil and criminal liability for other persons who administer such a drug in an emergency to an individual who the person believes in good faith is experiencing an opioid overdose.

Under the bill, a health care professional prescribing or dispensing an opioid antidote to a patient would be required to ensure that the patient receives overdose information, and could fulfill this requirement by maintaining a written agreement for the provision of such information with a community-based organization, substance abuse organization, or other organization which addresses medical or social issues related to drug addiction.

In a brief speech, Sen. Joe Vitale said the bill would provide a “safety net” for those involved in such situations and prevent future overdose cases. The bill, he said, serves as an antidote.

The bill combines language from the “Good Samaritan” bill that Gov. Chris Christie vetoed last September.

Since the bill was considered an emergency, given that the bill was posted on such short notice, several procedural votes were taken. They all passed 24-1, with Sen. Michael Doherty, casting the lone no votes.

The bill passed 68-2, with six abstentions.

In a statement, Colin Reed a spokesman for the Christie Administration issued the following statement:

“Governor Christie is grateful that his concerns on this important issue were heard and incorporated in a bipartisan way. We look forward to reviewing the reworked bill in its final form.”

Opioid bill passes both the Senate and Assembly