HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware) extending Good Samaritan protections for the use of new opioid overdose reversal drugs in advance of their anticipated approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The opioid epidemic has ravaged our communities,” said Quinn. “Approximately 14 Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose. These statistics would undoubtedly be worse without the opioid-reversal drug naloxone. As alternatives to naloxone advance through the FDA approval process, it is important we provide legal protections to Good Samaritans who administer these medications to those actively overdosing.”
Good Samaritan laws provide immunity from civil damages for personal injuries, even including death, that result from ordinary negligence. Quinn’s legislation, House Bill 2527
, passed unanimously.
In 2014, the General Assembly passed Act 139, providing Good Samaritan immunity to those who administer naloxone, commonly known by its trade name, Narcan.
“According to the CDC, drug overdoses rose 31% nationally in the most recent year for which we have complete data, 2020, to almost 92,000,” said Quinn. “In Pennsylvania, overdose deaths rose by more than 16% to more than 5,100.
“In a four-year period ending this January, the PA Department of Health reports more than 67,000 doses of Narcan have been administered by EMS with still tens of thousands more administered by others. Its broad, grassroots distribution has no doubt saved countless lives.
“Act 139 is an example of bi-partisan work to address a policy need of great importance. However, the next generation of opioid reversal medications will receive FDA approval in the very near future. My bill will encourage the rapid deployment of these new medications in Pennsylvania after they receive FDA approval.”
House Bill 2527 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Chris Quinn
168th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: John Kelemen