FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2019
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GUILLEN AIMS TO FUND OPIOID REVERSING MEDICATION FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
AUSTIN - As an author of HB 1449, State Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rural South Texas) is working to establish a grant program that would assist Texas law enforcement agencies with the purchase of opioid antagonists. Since 2014, opioid overdose deaths in Texas have consistently risen at a rate of approximately ten percent annually.
"The opioid crisis is a growing epidemic and unfortunately, there is no end in sight for the public health emergency it's created," said Guillen. "While we work to combat opioid abuse through preventative measures, the sad reality is that many individuals are either already addicted to the drug or at risk of overdosing."
However, Texas' opioid-related death rate would inevitably be higher if it weren't for the life-saving medication, Naloxone, which reverses an opioid overdose when administered correctly and in a timely fashion. Naloxone, also known by it's brand name, Narcan, became available in 2016 and since has saved the lives of thousands of Texans, but the cost of the medication is not cheap.
The proposed measure, HB 1449, would establish a grant that would help to cover the cost of Naloxone for Texas law enforcement agencies to have on hand when treating an individual suffering from an overdose. The grant would also help to fund special training for first responders to ensure they are capable of properly administering the medication.
"It's true that we've still got a lot of ground to cover in our battle against the opioid epidemic," Guillen added. "But by helping to arm first responders with Naloxone, we can save the lives of more Texans who struggle with opioid addiction and allow them the chance to seek treatment," he concluded.
Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at ryanguillen.com, facebook.com/representative.guillen, and twitter.com/ryanguillen