OXYCODONE BILL PASSES LA. HOUSE
Legislation Inspired By Erath Mother Whose Son Overdosed
State Sen. Nick Gautreaux's bill to increase penalties for oxycodone-related violations passed the House of Representatives with a unanimous vote Friday. It will now head back to the Senate for a concurrence vote, and then to the governor's desk for a signature.
Gautreaux, D-Abbeville, said Friday he's glad the bill passed and that penalties for abusing oxycodone - which makes up the prescription painkiller OxyContin and other drugs - will be as stiff as those for cocaine.
"The more and more I talked about it and researched it, I realized ... if it's such a bad drug, why shouldn't it correspond with cocaine?" Gautreaux said.
Gautreaux's bill was inspired by Erath resident Susan Cassidy, whose 17-year-old son Ryan died of an OxyContin overdose in 2003. Cassidy has crusaded for awareness of the drug, and asked Gautreaux to help her.
"I think her son's death enlightened me on the real problem of oxycodone,"
Cassidy said Friday she was "absolutely thrilled" the bill passed.
"There was a lot of support initially, and I felt it was going to carry over through to the House," she said.
She said all her work has been on Ryan's behalf, and this is just the beginning.
"I'm just going to stay on top of the legislation related to all painkillers, and pain management clinics," Cassidy said.