Central Delaware
Lawmakers eye life-saving drug program to battle addiction

DOVER — Because of the dramatic increase in heroin and opioid abuse in the state, Delaware lawmakers are pushing legislation to establish a program to administer the life-saving drug naloxone to people who have friends or family addicted to opioids without a prescription.

Known as “narcan,” the drug takes five seconds to administer and approximately two minutes to begin reviving individuals from drug overdose.

In 2013 state health officials reported that Delaware Emergency Medical Services had to administer the drug 900 times and revived 300 individuals.

Senate Bill 219, sponsored by Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown, chairwoman of the Senate Health Committee, sets up the framework for a narcan access program for the community. Friends, family members, and potentially service providers would be able to receive doses of naloxone at no or low cost after completing an approved training and education program. Currently individuals can receive the drug with a physician’s prescription.

“This legislation will save lives,” Sen. Hall-Long said.

Becky King, a nurse with the Red Clay School District and director of Attack Addition, an organization that provides drug awareness and support, said the drug doesn’t have any adverse affects on individuals.

It’s like drinking a glass of water, she said, to an individual without opioids in their system. It’s been certified by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration since 1971 and can be administered similar to an EpiPen (epinephrene).

“This medication and especially in this form was designed with the user or caregiver in mind,” Ms. King said.

“If this was the flu epidemic you’d be mobilizing people in great proportions to deal with it. So why aren’t you addressing it in the same way?”

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services will seek grant funding to support the community-based program.

If the bill is released from committee, Sen. Hall-Long expects lawmakers to take it up in the Senate during the first week of June.

Bill targets use of illegal campaign funds

The state Senate voted Tuesday to extend charity to political candidates and office holders in Delaware who receive illegal campaign contributions.

Current law requires a campaign to return a prohibited contribution to the donor within seven days of learning about it in order to avoid liability for accepting an illegal donation.

The Senate on voted 11-7 on a measure to allow campaigns to donate illegal contributions to certain state-approved charities. The bill cleared the Democrat-led Senate on a party-line vote, with no Republicans in favor. It now goes to the House.

Minority Whip Greg Lavelle suggested the bill was not about campaign finance reform, but about excusing certain campaign finance behavior.

The legislation attempts to codify how some candidates, including Gov. Jack Markell, have previously handled illegal campaign contributions

Bill allowing ex-offenders to work for Dep't. of Correction clears committee

A House committee released bipartisan legislation Wednesday that would allow the state’s Department of Correction to hire ex-offenders to work part-time for the agency.

Sponsored by Rep. James Johnson, D-Wilmington, House Bill 264 would allow DOC to hire ex-offenders as casual/seasonal workers for six months who were enrolled in the DOC vocational program.

State law currently forbids the department from employing any person ever convicted of a felony offense in Delaware or any other state or jurisdiction.

The bill now heads to the House in the coming weeks for a full vote on the floor.

This story contains information from the Associated Press.

Staff writer Jen Rini can be reached at 741-8250 or Follow @DSNJen_Rini on Twitter.