MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota family, all-too familiar with the opioid epidemic, hopes a gift might spare other parents pain.
The Rummlers lost their son, Steve, to a heroin overdose in 2011. The Edina High School graduate’s death sparked changes in state law and led to his family creating a nonprofit addiction network — a group aiming to arm others with one antidote to the crisis.
“Up until now, no one has paid us a dime to do this,” said Randy Anderson, a board member for the Steve Rummler Hope Network. “All of the money used has been our own money, fundraised by our board members and by our volunteers.”
Anderson says a $200,000 state grant will help the organization save more lives than before. Last year the network gave away 6,000 doses of Narcan, the drug used to counter the effects of a drug overdose.
This year, the network hopes to hand out up to 24,000 doses.
“There are facts to tell us that four out of five heroin users started with a legal prescription from their doctor for a medical procedure,” Anderson said.
The Steve Rummler Hope Network also hopes to use that money for prescriber education, passing along knowledge to doctors about alternatives to prescribing opiods for pain.
The network is also involved in advocacy. It wants lawmakers to pass a law that makes distributors of the highly addictive drug to help pay some of the cost to fight the epidemic.
“When a prescriber prescribes you or me opiods and I go fill those at the pharmacy, once those are dispensed, per milligram dispensed, we want a one cent fee to be attached to the distributors licensing fee in the state,” Anderson said.
Anderson says if passed that law could provide 22 million dollars a year that could be used to expand detox and sober living services. Steve’s Law also provides immunity for anyone who calls 911 for someone who is overdosing.
The Steve Rummler Hope Network provides training for anyone who wants to know how to save lives. You can learn more at steverummlerhopenetwork.org.