The Tennessee Good Samaritan Law (naloxone distribution) was enacted in 2014, and Tennessee was the 18th state to pass and support this civil immunity law which permits the prescribing and dispensing of naloxone to any at-risk persons, their family members, or friends, and allows them to administer it to a person believed to be experiencing an opioid overdose.
The legislation requires these individuals to receive basic instruction – including taking a quiz and printing a certificate.
Naloxone (or NarcanTM) is a proven tool in the battle against drug misuse and overdose death. When too much of an opioid medication is taken, it can slow breathing to a dangerously low rate. When breathing slows too much, overdose death can occur.
Naloxone can reverse this potentially fatal situation by allowing the person to breathe normally again temporarily (30-90 minutes). An individual can fall back into an overdose situation after that time if they have a long-acting medication or substance in their system. Naloxone is not a “cure” but is only intended to provide time for emergency medical services to arrive.
Naloxone is not a dangerous medicine. However, proper training is required by law. Any time an overdose is suspected, first responders should be notified by calling 911 immediately and stay with the patient until first responders arrive. It is important to know that some patients may awake disoriented or agitated after receiving naloxone. This is a good sign, but calling 911 is still very important to help the person survive.