NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee House Bill 2465 became law on April 4. The new law will arm more citizens with tools to help prevent fatal drug-related overdoses that are all too common in the state.
The law could be a lifeline in Tennessee, where the opioid epidemic is deadlier than ever and naloxone, known more commonly as Narcan, isn’t widely dispersed.
This bill becoming law hits home for one Nashvillian, Brian Sullivan.
“I was revived by naloxone, Sullivan said. “The overdose I experienced was not from addiction it was from depression. It was a suicide attempt and part of the reason I was able to do that was because there were prescription opioids in my home,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said he was one of the lucky ones because he lived just a few blocks away from the police department where he was administered the drug.
“Had I not lived so close or been in a rural area that could have killed me,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan believes increasing the availability and targeted distribution of naloxone is a critical component in the efforts to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths.
“It is a very important and necessary band-aid on a hemorrhage in our state,” Sullivan said.
Medics frequently use the drug, and it’s become increasingly more common in police departments and schools, especially in Cheatham County.
Lt. Shannon Heflin said overdose deaths in Cheatham County have reached alarming numbers.
“We are up to 10 overdose fatalities in our county, which is a huge increase,” Lt. Heflin said.
Sullivan, an advocate for survivors, said naloxone is crucial to preventing deaths. He said when an overdose occurs, you want there to be naloxone nearby and for everyone around to know how to use it.
“If people are going to do it anyway these types of measures could save a life,” Sullivan said.