Concerns rise over availability of overdose antidote

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ROANOKE (WSL S10) - A bill that would increase the availability of the overdose antidote Naloxone moves forward in the senate. The bill was proposed by Senator Tim Kaine.

Kaine says the commonwealth faces a culture of over prescribing opioids.

Naloxone is a drug that can be given by injection or nasal spray that reverses an opioid's effect and has no lasting side effect.

It's currently used by Roanoke City first responders. The concern is that if Naloxone becomes more accessible, drug users could become reckless knowing there is a "fail-safe" medication.

"This is a lifesaving drug that's already saved over 25,000 people from overdosing," said Kaine. "But, it's not a pleasant experience."

"I think it is a significant, realistic concern that people will try to self-medicate or medicate friends and not get the full medical care that they need.," said Captain Jim Cady Jr., with Roanoke Fire and EMS.

This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and prevention issues new recommendations for prescribing opiate painkillers for the first time.

Doctors are advised to prescribe the lowest dose possible for the least amount of time. However, they are not required by law to follow that guideline.