WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIVT/WBGH) – Subsequent to the growing number of opioid overdoses in New York’s 19th Congressional District, Congressman Marc Molinaro is working to make harm reduction recourses more easily accessible.

Molinaro introduced a bipartisan bill on Friday, calling for unification to end the opioid overdose epidemic. Molinaro introduced the Supporting Access to Vital and Affordable Care for Everyone (SAVE) Act that expands access to over-the-counter naloxone, such as Narcan, to all. The bill’s inception is due to the dangerous number of fentanyl-fueled overdoses in Broome County, Sullivan County, and other surrounding communities.

“Naloxone and Narcan can reverse an opioid overdose and is a crucial tool in helping save lives amid a local and national spike in opioid overdose deaths. Unfortunately for many, the medication isn’t always affordable. A good Samaritan who purchases lifesaving naloxone should not have that expense weigh down on their family’s budget. My bipartisan bill will make OTC naloxone, such as Narcan accessible to everyone, regardless of income,” said Molinaro.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all fatal overdoses had at least one opportunity for a bystander to intervene. Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that can be used by bystanders to rapidly reverse the effects of narcotics during an overdose.

The first over the counter naloxone nasal spray, Narcan, was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but it can be expensive, making it not as accessible to those in need. As overdose numbers steadily rise, Narcan is quickly becoming a necessity. Molinaro’s bill ensures Naloxone is affordable and accessible to everyone by allowing the purchase of the lifesaving mediation to qualify as a deductible medical expense on an individual’s taxes.  

“Now that over-the-counter naloxone is available, we must make sure that it is accessible to everyone.  The opioid epidemic has touched nearly everyone, but each of us can have a role in fighting it.  Allowing the purchase of OTC naloxone to count towards the deduction of medical expenses is just good common sense and puts us one step closer to ensuring that every medicine cabinet in the U.S. includes OTC naloxone. The SAVE Act will incentivize more people to join the fight and be ready when they are called upon to save a life.  We can’t imagine not having smoke detectors in our homes, and we shouldn’t think twice about having OTC naloxone in our homes, either. We can’t thank Rep. Molinaro and Rep. Pettersen enough for their leadership in helping all Americans combat the opioid crisis,” said President of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Dr. Ronald Harter.

Molinaro introduced this bipartisan bill with fellow U.S. Representatives Brittany Pettersen, Darin LaHood, Mike Carey, David Trone, and Chris Pappas.

Chief Executive Officer of Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic Project Jeff Horwitz says passing the SAVE Act is one more positive step to saving lives.