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H.R.1821

Opioid Overdose Reduction Act of 2015

Introduced on 4-15-15 by Richard Neal [D-MA-1] and referred to the Judiciary Committee, then to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. Cosponsors were Frank Guinta [R-NH-1], Barbara Comstock [R-VA-10], Evan Jenkins [R-WV-3], Robert Dold [R-IL-10], Rick Larsen [D-WA-2], and Seth Moulton [D-MA-6].  The identical Senate Bill is S.707.

Purpose: To provide certain protections from civil liability with respect to the emergency administration of opioid overdose drugs.
Findings: 

Overdoses from opioids, largely from prescription pain relievers, have increased dramatically in the United States. Deaths from drug overdose have tripled among men and increased fivefold among women over the past decade. Nationwide, drug overdoses now claim more lives than car accidents.

Overdose deaths from opioids can be prevented with a timely administered opioid overdose drug. On April 13, 2014, the FDA approved a prescription opioid overdose drug hand-held auto-injector to treat a person who has had an opioid overdose.

The prescribing of opioid overdose drugs and willingness of medical and non-medical personnel to administer them may be deterred by potential civil liability.

Preemption and election of State nonapplicability.

This Act will preempt any state law unless the state provides even move protection from liability, or if the state has enacted legislation that states this law does not apply to lawsuits in that state. If the parties involved are all citizens of the same state, and state law allows the civil action, it will take precedent over this federal law.

Limitation on civil liability for health care professionals who provide opioid overdose drugs.

If the federal law takes precedence, then a health care professional who prescribes or provides an opioid overdose drug to an individual at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose, or to a family member or friend to assist, shall not be liable for harm caused by the use of the opioid overdose drug if the individual to whom such drug is provided has been educated on when to administer the opioid overdose drug, how to administer it, and the steps that need to be taken after administration.

However, the freedom from liability does not apply to a health care professional if the harm was caused by the gross negligence or reckless misconduct of the health care professional.

Limitation on civil liability for individuals working for or volunteering at a state or local agency opioid overdose program, OR WHO ADMINISTER AN OPIOID OVERDOSE DRUG.

Places the same limitation on civil liability for an individual who works at an opioid overdose program and provides an opioid overdose drug to an individual authorized to receive it.

However, the freedom from liability does not apply if the harm was caused by the gross negligence or reckless misconduct of the individual who provides the drug.

 

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