Local mothers push to legalize life-saving drug in Iowa

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A bill in the Iowa legislature could make it legal for anyone to possess an antidote that can reverse a heroin overdose.

Kim Brown and Sue Vancamp share similar stories, both of their sons died from heroin overdoses. Ben Vancamp was 27 and Andy Brown was 33.

"This is not your heroin addict of the 1960s. This is not a back alley problem. This is in our community, in our schools, it's your neighbor, it's your friends, it's real people," said Vancamp.

Andy and Ben struggled with substance abuse for years.

"The ugly comments people make like that person there don`t deserve life that's wrong, that is wrong. Everybody deserves to live," said Brown.

Both mothers have been pushing legislation to legalize a drug called Naloxone, also known as Narcan. It can reverse an overdose. They want it in the hands of all health care professionals, law enforcement and family members of addicts. The bill didn't pass last year, mostly because of a line in the bill that gives the person that reports the overdose immunity.

However, Brown says a different approach needs to be taken, "We don`t need to be arresting low-level, non- violent drug offenders, we need to be helping them get healthy again."

From 2000 to 2013, heroin overdose deaths increased from one to 20 per year in Iowa.

Brown and Vancamp hope this time around the bill will get enough support to become law.

"There`s no redemption and there's no rehab for a dead kid," said Brown.

Narcan is not a controlled substance and can be injected or given through nasal spray. The bill will head to the House floor next week.

Illinois passed a similar law in 2010. Lee County uses both forms of Narcan.