State House passes overdose prevention bill

The Minnesota House unanimously passed legislation today aimed at preventing overdose deaths from heroin and other opiates.

The bill allows first responders to administer the overdose antidote known as Narcan. It also provides limited immunity from prosecution to people who call for medical help when someone has overdosed.

Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, said the changes will save lives.

“This bill will not stop addiction to heroin or other chemicals. That discussion of keeping our family members from being addicted is going to carry on for a long, long time,” Schoen said. “In the meantime today, this vote is going to be a vote to stand up and say I want to keep people alive.”

The Senate passed a similar version of the bill a month ago, also on a unanimous vote, but will need to act again after the House amended the language. Schoen said the changes were made in the immunity provision to address the concerns of law enforcement groups.

Supporters of the legislation refer to it as Steve’s Law. It’s named after Steve Rummler of Edina, who died of a heroin overdose three years ago.

UPDATE

The Senate concurred with the amended House language late this afternoon and took a final vote. Senators passed the measure unanimously, 65-0, sending it to Gov. Mark Dayton.