The state House has approved a bill meant to help save the lives of individuals who have overdosed on an opioid such as heroin.

Representative Steve Lynch (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Steve Lynch (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The House approved a bill to let licensed pharmacists sell naloxone – a drug that can block the effects of an opioid overdose. The bill would allow it to be sold to a family member or friend of an opioid user as well.

House sponsor, Representative Steve Lynch (R-Waynesville), says that’s because many overdoses happen in the home.

“Two-thirds of all overdoses happen in the home. Eighty-five percent of the time there’s people around, and for states that have a bill like this, eighty-percent of the rescues are done by family members and friends,” said Lynch. “This bill will save lives.”

Some Democrats, like Randy Dunn (Kansas City), while supporting the bill, said they want the legislature to take steps to help people addicted to other substances.

“I’m glad that as a society we are moving in a direction where we are showing compassion for those that are addicted as opposed to being a society that criminalizes those individuals,” said Dunn. “This is a very important bill relating to those that are addicted to opioids, but I hope we will show this same compassion for those individuals that are addicted to other substances and other types of drugs that are filling our jails still.”

The bill goes to the state Senate, where similar legislation has been filed.

Two years ago Missouri began allowing first responders to administer naloxone to overdose patients.

Lynch’s legislation is HB 1568.