Last year in Hennepin and Ramsey counties, 129 lives were lost to heroin and other opiate overdoses. There's an overdose antidote called Narcan, but in Minnesota it's illegal for anyone other than a health care professional to give the injection.
A bill from Minnesota Sen. Chris Eaton, the mother of a heroin overdose victim, would put the inexpensive and harmless antidote in the hands of police officers, firefighters and even members of the general public.
In 2007, Ariel Eaton-Willson -- the 23-year-old daughter of Sen. Eaton and Brooklyn Center Mayor Tim Willson – drove with a friend to a Burger King parking lot in Brooklyn Center and purchased $20 in heroin.
They shot up and her friend stepped out of the car to smoke a cigarette, then came back to find Eaton-Willson slumped over, unconscious and barely breathing. But instead of calling an ambulance, his first instinct was to get rid of the drug evidence -- two needles that were sitting out.
"I don't think he would have spent the time getting rid of all the paraphernalia if he knew he wasn't going to be prosecuted," Sen. Eaton said.
In addition to making the overdose antidote more widely available, Eaton's bill would grant immunity to a person who witnesses an overdose and calls for help.
Sen. Eaton and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek are making their case for Narcan at the State Capitol on Tuesday. Updates from the event will be posted here.