Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill by Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, on Friday to put a life-saving antidote into the hands of first responders to prevent drug overdose deaths.
Senate Bill 1438 will equip firefighters, police officers and other first responders with naloxone, an antidote that can reverse the effects of prescription painkillers and heroin and abruptly stop an overdose episode. The bill requires that naloxone training be provided to first responders who provide basic life support, such as professional firefighters. It also provides voluntary training for police and other public safety personnel.
“Prescription painkiller abuse afflicts people of all ages and backgrounds,” Pavley said. “Making naloxone available to law enforcement can prevent needless deaths and give victims a second chance to seek treatment and break their addiction.”
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, killing about 38,000 people per year (4,200 in California). In March, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called opioid overdose deaths an “urgent public health crisis” and urged law enforcement agencies to train and equip personnel with naloxone. At least 17 states have adopted measures to increase access to naloxone and six others have either passed or have pending legislation that explicitly authorizes first responders to carry and administer naloxone.
SB 1438 is sponsored by the California Professional Firefighters and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and supported by the California State Sheriffs’ Association.
“Law enforcement’s number one priority is to be able to save lives, and this is going to save lives the first week we put it into place,” said Captain James Bovet of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
“As a trained EMT, an off-duty firefighter can administer naloxone, but in many California counties, they could be disciplined if they administered it while on duty because it’s not part of their ‘scope of practice,’” said Lou Paulson, president of California Professional Firefighters. “This makes no sense. SB 1438 closes this loophole, ensuring that patients can get the critical treatment they need.”
ALSO: Governor signs bill to ensure appropriate graduation requirements for special needs students
SACRAMENTO – On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 267 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), which will ensure that students with special needs are given appropriate assessments prior to high school graduation.
“Graduating from high school is a significant milestone in the lives of students with special needs,” Senator Pavley said. “This bill ensures that students with special needs are not asked to pass the high school exit exam until the state develops an alternative means for them to demonstrate their academic abilities.”
Current law recognizes that students who have spent their academic career in special needs classes require alternative methods to assess their academic ability. These students are already exempt from the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) as a condition to graduate from high school.
Under current law, the State Board of Education has a July 1, 2015 deadline to develop an alternative means to satisfy the exit exam requirement. However, the alternative assessment is not expected to be complete until the 2017-18 school year as part of a broader overhaul of the high school exit exam.
SB 267 simply removes the July 1 deadline from law, giving special needs students and their families certainty about their graduation requirements and protecting them from the possibility of being subject to rushed, unfair or poorly designed assessments.