The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 18: Health

Chapter 84: POSSESSION AND CONTROL OF REGULATED DRUGS

Sub-Chapter 01: Regulated Drugs

18 V.S.A. § 4240. Prevention and treatment of opioid-related overdoses



§ 4240. Prevention and treatment of opioid-related overdoses

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Health care professional" means a physician licensed pursuant to 26 V.S.A. chapter 23 or 33, a physician's assistant certified to prescribe and dispense prescription drugs pursuant to 26 V.S.A. chapter 31, or an advanced practice registered nurse authorized to prescribe and dispense prescription drugs pursuant to 26 V.S.A. chapter 28.

(2) "Opioid antagonist" means a drug that, when administered, negates or neutralizes in whole or part the pharmacological effects of an opioid in the body.

(3) "Victim" means the person who has overdosed on an opioid drug or who is believed to have overdosed on an opiate drug.

(b) For the purpose of addressing prescription and nonprescription opioid overdoses in Vermont, the Department shall develop and implement a prevention, intervention, and response strategy, depending on available resources, that shall:

(1) provide educational materials on opioid overdose prevention to the public free of charge, including to substance abuse treatment providers, health care providers, opioid users, and family members of opioid users;

(2) increase community-based prevention programs aimed at reducing risk factors that lead to opioid overdoses;

(3) increase timely access to treatment services for opioid users, including medication-assisted treatment;

(4)(A) educate substance abuse treatment providers on methods to prevent opioid overdoses;

(B) provide education and training on overdose prevention, intervention, and response to individuals living with addiction and participating in opioid treatment programs, syringe exchange programs, residential drug treatment programs, or correctional services;

(5) facilitate overdose prevention, drug treatment, and addiction recovery services by implementing and expanding hospital referral services for individuals treated for an opioid overdose; and

(6) develop a statewide opioid antagonist pilot program that emphasizes access to opioid antagonists to and for the benefit of individuals with a history of opioid use.

(c)(1) A health care professional acting in good faith may directly or by standing order prescribe, dispense, and distribute an opioid antagonist to the following persons, provided the person has been educated about opioid-related overdose prevention and treatment in a manner approved by the Department:

(A) a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose; or

(B) a family member, friend, or other person in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose.

(2) A health care professional who prescribes, dispenses, or distributes an opioid antagonist in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be immune from civil or criminal liability with regard to the subsequent use of the opioid antagonist, unless the health professional's actions with regard to prescribing, dispensing, or distributing the opioid antagonist constituted recklessness, gross negligence, or intentional misconduct. The immunity granted in this subdivision shall apply whether or not the opioid antagonist is administered by or to a person other than the person for whom it was prescribed.

(d)(1) A person may administer an opioid antagonist to a victim if he or she believes, in good faith, that the victim is experiencing an opioid-related overdose.

(2) After a person has administered an opioid antagonist pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection (d), he or she shall immediately call for emergency medical services if medical assistance has not yet been sought or is not yet present.

(3) A person shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for administering an opioid antagonist to a victim pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection unless the person's actions constituted recklessness, gross negligence, or intentional misconduct. The immunity granted in this subdivision shall apply whether or not the opioid antagonist is administered by or to a person other than the person for whom it was prescribed.

(e) A person acting on behalf of a community-based overdose prevention program shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for providing education on opioid-related overdose prevention or for purchasing, acquiring, distributing, or possessing an opioid antagonist unless the person's actions constituted recklessness, gross negligence, or intentional misconduct.

(f) Any health care professional who treats a victim and who has knowledge that the victim has been administered an opioid antagonist within the preceding 30 days shall refer the victim to professional substance abuse treatment services. (Added 2013, No. 75, § 17.)