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American Medical Response, American Ambulance Association Join Sen. Kelly Ayotte to Officially Endo

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04.09.2015

(NASHUA, N.H.) - American Medical Response (AMR), the nation’s largest ambulance provider today joined the American Ambulance Association (AAA) and U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H) to officially endorse the Opioid Overdose Reduction Act of 2015.

Senator Ayotte, along with her colleagues Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), introduced the legislation in March to protect first responders, health professionals and family members trained in administering and steps to be taken after administering an opioid overdose prevention drug like naloxone (trade name Narcan) in an emergency incidence of drug overdose.

“Today we’d like to take the opportunity to endorse the Opioid Overdose Reduction Act, introduced by our own New Hampshire Senator, Kelly Ayotte, along with Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia,” said Tom McEntee, CEO East Region for AMR. “As we are all unfortunately aware, substance misuse is a problem across the country, and right now New Hampshire is facing prescription opioid abuse and heroin epidemics.”

Senator Ayotte welcomed support from AMR and the American Ambulance Association.

“I helped introduce the Opioid Overdose Reduction Act to provide liability protections to first responders, health professionals and family members who are educated in administering and steps to be taken after administering naloxone in an emergency situation of overdose,” Senator Ayotte said. “This bill will help address liability concerns that may make some hesitant to administer a life-saving drug to an individual who has overdosed on heroin or prescription drugs. The alarming rise in overdose deaths in New Hampshire requires swift action, and this common sense legislation will help save lives.”

The Opioid Overdose Reduction Act would address this problem by exempting the following groups from civil liability:
  • Individuals who work or volunteer at an opioid overdose program from any harm caused by the emergency administration of an opioid overdose drug that they provide as a part of an opioid overdose program;
  • Health care professionals from any harm caused by the emergency administration of an opioid overdose drug that they prescribe or provide to any person provided that person receives education in the proper administration of the opioid overdose drug and steps to be taken after administration of the drug; and
  • Individuals, including first responders, who administer an opioid overdose drug to a person who is or reasonably appears to have suffered an overdose provided they either are doing so pursuant to a prescription or they obtained the overdose drug from an overdose program or a healthcare professional and received education in the proper administration of the overdose drug, including steps to be taken after administration of the drug.

“Today, AMR and AAA join a growing chorus of EMS, law enforcement, healthcare and behavioral health organizations who support and applaud this important piece of legislation introduced by Senator Ayotte,” said Steve Murphy, senior vice president of government and national services for Envision Healthcare, AMR’s parent company.

“As a representative of the American Ambulance Association, I’m pleased to announce AAA’s support for this important measure that will help first responders as they do their part to address this public health crisis.”

“First responders, whether they are EMS, police and fire, or family, are serving on the front lines of unprecedented heroin and prescription drug crises. They shouldn’t have to hesitate, especially in moment that could mean life or death, to worry about a potential lawsuit,” Murphy said.

Said Chris Stawasz, general manager for AMR in New Hampshire and Maine: “It’s very important to our organization that first responders have the tools that they need to save lives in case of an opioid overdose and feel that they are able to use the means necessary without fear of prosecution, and that’s why we are pleased to endorse Senator Ayotte’s bill today.”

Between 2000 and 2013, the death rate from heroin overdoses nationwide nearly quadrupled. In 2014, New Hampshire saw 300 deaths attributed to drug overdoses, but the death toll could have been much worse were it not for naloxone which quickly reverses the effects of opioids, including heroin and most prescription painkillers.

The Opioid Overdose Reduction Act has also been endorsed by: Trust for America's Health (TFAH), American Psychiatric Association, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), American Society of Addiction Medicine, Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Coalition, New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR), Learn to Cope, Association of Behavioral Healthcare, Massachusetts Sheriff's Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems.


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About American Medical Response

American Medical Response, Inc. (http://www.amr.net), America’s leading provider of medical transportation, provides services in 40 states and the District of Columbia. More than 18,000 AMR paramedics, EMTs, RNs and other professionals work together to transport more than 3 million patients nationwide each year in critical, emergency and non-emergency situations. AMR, a subsidiary of Envision Healthcare Corporation, is headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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