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States Lag in Laws Preventing Drug Overdose

A report highlighted in the aftermath of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's apparent heroin overdose notes that most states lack the recommended laws to curb overdose deaths.

February 5, 2014
by Chris Kardish
Governing Magazine

Fewer than 20 states have laws that encourage people who have experienced a drug overdose to seek medical help or make medications that counteract the life-threatening effects of drug overdoses widely available, according a recent report from Trust for America’s Health.

Public health experts recommend states take a number of steps to curb overdose mortalities, which have doubled in 29 states since 1999, according to the Trust. Among those are maintaining so-called “Good Samaritan” and “rescue drug” laws. The recent death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman of an apparent heroin overdose has further underscored the need for action on the state level, said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust.

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