1011 Now: Bill to prevent opioid overdose deaths in Nebraska passes initial hurdle

In The News   Posted by Tony Vargas · February 23, 2024

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) - In 2022, 175 Nebraskans died of drug overdoses.

A bill seeking to reduce that number advanced Wednesday from initial-round legislative debate.

State Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha, who introduced Legislative Bill 1355, said that in more than 60% of the 2022 fatal overdose cases, there was at least one potential opportunity to prevent a death.

Under the bill, $4 million per year in grants from the Nebraska Opioid Recovery Fund would be provided for the Nebraska State Patrol, health care facilities, local public health departments and behavioral health regions to create programs to improve opioid treatment and response to overdoses.

The bill, with amendments, advanced on a 40-0 vote.

Vargas, who prioritized the bill, said that opioid addiction touches too many lives and that the bill can help address “this public health crisis, keep our communities safe and get Nebraskans the help they need to treat and overcome addiction.”

Vargas said that 67% of all overdose deaths in Nebraska involved opioids and that illegally made fentanyl was the top opioid involved.

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