Sheriff’s Deputies Equipped with Naloxone, Three Lives Saved in First Month
Birmingham, AL 10/31/2018
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies are now equipped with a nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose.
Naloxone, more commonly known by the trade name Narcan®, is an intranasal medication used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.
As part of the ongoing effort to combat opioid deaths in Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale has equipped deputies with naloxone. In 2017 Jefferson County saw 202 deaths due to overdoses of heroin and fentanyl. Having deputies equipped with naloxone is expected to aid in bringing these numbers down.
Deputies often are first to arrive on the scene of an overdose and can now take steps to save the life of a victim. Three lives have already been saved by a deputy equipped with naloxone.
Deputies began training on the use of naloxone in late September and began carrying it with them as soon as they were trained. On the day one deputy received training and began carrying it he was able to use it to save the life of a man who overdosed on heroin.
The deputy was dispatched to investigate a report of an unresponsive male in a pickup truck in western Jefferson County. The deputy responded along with Bagley Fire Department. Once on scene, he encountered a male subject who was exhibiting the effects of an opioid overdose. Though paramedics were on scene they had no naloxone. The deputy gave his issued naloxone to the paramedics who were able to administer it and revive the victim.
This past Saturday deputies were called to an address in the 6700 block of Hickory Trail in northeast Jefferson County to investigate a report that two adult women had simultaneously overdosed. While they were on the way the caller reported that CPR had been started on one of the women. Deputies arrived and found both women unresponsive. The deputy administered naloxone which was immediately effective. The women were taken to an area hospital for additional treatment.
Of additional concern to law enforcement is accidental exposure to fentanyl while conducting searches of suspects and vehicles. Fentanyl is a potent opioid produced both pharmaceutically as well as in illegal clandestine laboratories. It is one hundred times more potent than morphine. It can be introduced into the body through inhalation or direct skin contact unknown to the person exposed. Deputies conducting a search may be unknowingly exposed to the drug. Carrying naloxone is a safeguard against these types of exposures.
Sheriff Mike Hale “We are doing everything we can to battle these type deaths. The numbers are trending down but this drug is still breaking the hearts of families across the country. In our jails, we have partnered with UAB to help inmates break the cycle of addiction. Inmates willing to be part of the program are given a new promising treatment to combat their addiction to opioids as well as counseling and support that continues after their release. We have stepped up enforcement efforts, sued the drug companies, conducted a robust media campaign to educate people of the dangers and armed our deputies with this medical remedy. More lives will be saved because of this comprehensive effort. I’m certain of that”.