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Hundreds of Laws Take Effect in Missouri, Including Access to Opioid Overdose Antidote

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

More than 100 laws go into effect today in Missouri. One could help save lives, allowing families and emergency personnel to better help a person overdosing on opioids.
Opioid addiction can happen to anyone. Joplin resident April Harper knows that all too well. Her son Mikey Armstrong was an addict.
“He was a loving, loving kid. He would do anything for anyone,” Harper says.
Armstrong became addicted to pain pills after a life threatening car accident.
“He had that want to be better, he really did and he'd try but it would always seem to catch him anyway,” says Harper.
He died in January 2009 from an opioid overdose.
Armstrong isn't alone, according to the CDC, overdoses have quadrupled since 2000. Prescription pain relievers and heroin are the main drivers of overdose deaths.
As a new law takes effect in Missouri today, families of addicts have the opportunity to purchase a lifesaving drug without a prescription. Pharmacists can now dispense Narcan, an opioid overdose antidote.
“We have seen an upturn in opioid use in our area and if we're going to have people that overdose, why not make Narcan available where somebody can get it quickly and administer it to the individual and save their life,” says Representative Charlie Davis.

He says the bill had a lot of support and that Governor Jay Nixon was happy to sign it into law.
The law protects pharmacists from being held liable if the drug does not work and a person is required to call 911 after dispensing Narcan.
It's an option Harper wishes she had with her then 21 year old son.
“It would've made a world of difference. He'd be with me today and his son would have his dad,” says Harper.
She encourages other families coping with addiction to keep Narcan readily available.
“If a child or someone who’s addicted gets themselves to the point where they're overdosing and we had this available and able to save their lives, it might be enough to scare them to realize oh my goodness, because that gives us the chance to let them know how much we do love them and how much we do care and how much we do want them in our lives,” says Harper.

Harper also chose to include Mikey in the ads that will be hanging in local high schools to show students it can happen to anyone. She also works to help addicts through recovery.
Other laws to go into effect today include tougher ethics policies for elected officials. Elected officials must wait 6 months after their terms before registering as a lobbyist. They are also banned from serving as paid political consultants.

 

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