State lawmakers want to give librarians immunity from any issues that could arise if they administer opioid overdose medication. A state House committee passed bills on Tuesday that would do that.
The quiet, secluded nature of libraries makes them an attractive place for some drug users to get their fix. Librarians can administer overdose medication like Narcan. But some don’t carry it because they could be sued if something goes wrong.
Gail Madziar is the executive director of the Michigan Library Association. She says drug overdoses in libraries are a growing problem. She says a woman died of an overdose at the association’s president’s library.
“She was lying there with a needle in her arm and they did CPR; they did what they could, but unfortunately, the first responders did not get there in time,” she says. “It’s very important that if a patron is in need and there’s something that they can do to assist that patron, they want to do it.”
In 2017, Michigan had a record number of overdose deaths from opioids. But officials say the increase in opioid-related deaths is starting to slow.
Representative Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance) is a bill sponsor.
“I felt like this is something that would be another tool in the toolbox for possibly saving someone’s life if they wander into a library and decide to do that,” he says.
Similar bills were introduced in the last session, but only made it out of one committee. Sheppard says he believes the full House will vote on the legislation this week.