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New Tennessee law hopes to prevent overdose deaths by making life-saving drug more accessible

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee House Bill 2465 went into effect on April 4. The new law will equip more citizens with tools to help prevent fatal drug overdoses that are all too common in the state.

The law could be a lifeline in Tennessee, where the opioid epidemic is deadlier than ever and naloxone, better known as Narcan, is not widely available.

This bill which becomes law affects a Nashvillian, Brian Sullivan.

“I was revived on naloxone, Sullivan said. “The overdose I experienced was not due to addiction, but depression. It was a suicide attempt and part of the reason I was able to do it was because I had prescription opioids in my house,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said he was one of the lucky ones because he lived a few blocks from the police department where he received the drugs.

“If I hadn’t lived so close or been in a rural area, it could have killed me,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan believes that increasing the availability and targeted distribution of naloxone is a critical part of efforts to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths.

“It’s a very important and necessary band-aid on a hemorrhage in our state,” Sullivan said.

Doctors use the drug frequently, and it’s becoming more common in police departments and schools, especially in Cheatham County.

Lt. Shannon Heflin said overdose deaths in Cheatham County have reached an alarming number.

“We have up to 10 overdose deaths in our county, which is a huge increase,” Lt. Heflin said.

Sullivan, a survivor advocate, said naloxone is key to preventing deaths. He said that in the event of an overdose, you want naloxone nearby and everyone knows how to use it.

“If people are going to do it anyway, these kinds of measures could save a life,” Sullivan said.


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