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Update: Heroin antidote bill gets final approval; goes to Dayton

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The Minnesota House and Senate Wednesday passed legislation allowing emergency personnel to administer a heroin antidote called Narcan in the case of an overdose, and providing immunity from prosecution for people who call 911.

The House voted 130-0 to pass “Steve’s Law,” named after Steve Rummler, who died of a heroin overdose in 2011 after struggling with an addiction to painkillers for several years, the Star Tribune reports.

The Senate unanimously approved an earlier version of the bill in April, and passed it again Wednesday to accept an amendment added by the House. The measure will then go to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.

“This vote is about keeping children alive,” said Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, the bill’s author, according to the Associated Press. “It’s about getting people the help they deserve so they can be here one more day.”

The measure would allow first responders, police officers and prevention program staffers to carry and administer Narcan, a drug that can counteract the effects of a heroin overdose within minutes. Current state law only allows health care professionals to give Narcan to overdose victims. 

The bill would also provide immunity from prosecution for anyone who calls 911 seeking help for another person who has overdosed.

The measure aims to address the rising number of heroin deaths in Minnesota. The number of people who've died from heroin overdoses in Hennepin County, for example, has gone from six in 2008 to 54 in 2013.

Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, authored the Senate version of the bill in part because her daughter, who was 23, died in 2007 of a heroin overdose.

The man with Ariel Eaton-Willson that day did not call 911 immediately, instead hiding evidence from police. By the time she was taken to the hospital and given Narcan, it was too late and she died.

“This is to get people like the young man who was with my daughter to call 911 instead of hiding things, and denying to the people around that he knew what was going on,” Eaton said in an interview last month.

The bill now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.

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