Governor signs Schuitmaker bill allowing law enforcement officers to carry life-saving medication

For Immediate Release
Jan. 12, 2015

Contact: Derek Sova

LANSING, Mich.—Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday signed into law legislation sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker that will allow law enforcement officers to carry Naloxone, a medication that can counteract the effects of a heroin overdose.

“Law enforcement agencies are eager for the opportunity to carry this life-saving medication,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Too many of our families have lost loved ones to heroin abuse. This is an opportunity to be on the front lines of the fight against heroin abuse.”

Public Act 462 of 2014 will allow law enforcement officers to carry Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that can counteract the effects of a heroin overdose if administered in time. The bill requires officers carrying this medication to be trained in its use and provides them immunity from civil liability if they administer the medication in good faith.

“I have worked extensively on improving our response to heroin overdoses and was pleased to sponsor this important legislation,” Schuitmaker said. “Law enforcement officers are oftentimes some of the first people to respond to an overdose situation and have the best chance at intervening.”

Legislation championed by Schuitmaker in early 2014 allows the friends and family of heroin users to obtain the medication. Nationwide, states are making Naloxone more available as deaths from heroin overdoses continue to rise.

Fatal heroin overdoses increased 45 percent from 2006 to 2010, with 3,038 such deaths reported that year, and the numbers are believed to still be on the rise, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. According to recent news reports, emergency use of opioid antagonists resulted in more than 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have amended laws to allow increased access to blocking agents that can decrease the effects of an overdose. Naloxone is a harmless medication that has no purpose or effects other than counteracting an opioid overdose.