News - Advocacy
Friday, February 16, 2018 12:00 AM

Library Protection for Narcan Use

Senate Bills 828 and 829 were introduced today by Senator Rick Jones and Senator Margaret O’Brien. MLA worked with the Library of Michigan and Michigan Department of Education to help craft this legislation providing libraries with protection from civil and criminal liability when administering life-saving Narcan in the result of an opioid drug overdose at the library. Currently Good Samaritan laws protect individuals from prosecution but as governmental entities libraries could technically be held liable if something went wrong. Our goal is to have libraries treated much like school districts. We appreciate the Senators’ support of this important life-saving legislation.

In the United States, it is reported that a person dies of an opioid overdose every twenty-four minutes. While they happen everywhere, it’s been impossible to miss the stories of overdoses happening in the restrooms and parking lots of public libraries.

In Michigan a number of deaths have been avoided when a trained librarian administered Narcan to an overdosing patron. Public libraries have become a magnet of sorts for people with drug problems, often for the same reasons anyone visits libraries — because they’re free and open to the public.

Libraries are quiet, private spaces you can stay for extended periods of time and not be questioned. In addition to offering privacy, another theory about why some addicts head to library bathrooms and parking lots is they know someone will have Narcan and help them out.

Our librarians are on the front line dealing with these types of issues on a daily basis. Providing libraries with protection from civil and criminal liability similar to that afforded to schools would assist in making sure libraries are able to more easily access and administer to opioid overdoses in and around the library.

While no one wants to be in a position to have to administer this life-saving drug, the fact is our librarians are facing that decision on a regular basis.

These bills would allow libraries and library employees or agents to purchase, possess, distribute or administer in good faith an opioid antagonist without being subject to criminal prosecution for purchasing, possessing, distributing, or administering any opioid antagonist to any individual. The law would provide immunity to libraries similar to that provided to public schools.

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