Culpeper Police take on the public health crisis

 

Pictured (l-r) Lieutenant Andrew Terrill, Town of Culpeper resident Effie Foster, and Captain Tim Chilton demonstrating the Drug Take Back box which is available 24/7 as a safe place to dispose of prescription drugs. Photo courtesy of Culpeper Town Police
Pictured (l-r) Lieutenant Andrew Terrill, Town of Culpeper resident Effie Foster, and Captain Tim Chilton demonstrating the Drug Take Back box which is available 24/7 as a safe place to dispose of prescription drugs.
Photo courtesy of Culpeper Town Police

Locally, the Town of Culpeper has experienced the same devastating effects of heroin and opiate dependency that is spreading across the country. Law Enforcement and Emergency

Medical personnel are responding to daily overdose reports. The Culpeper Police Department has taken measures to respond including, becoming a drop off point for unused prescription drugs and hope to very soon equip all officers with a lifesaving opiate reversing antidote, like NARCAN. The Department is committed to making an impact on this medical crisis.

In the lobby of the Culpeper Police Department there is green box installed for the purpose of accepting old prescription medications. This box was provided through a generous partnership between Old Dominion Electric Cooperative Marsh Run and the Culpeper Police Department. The drop off box at the Culpeper Police Department is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Regular business hours allow access to the anonymous box during the day, and in the evening hours, and on weekends, citizens can contact the on-duty patrol supervisor to access the box.

Since the box was put in place in June of 2015 the Department has collected more than 140 pounds of unwanted medication.

These medications are the first step for so many of the people addicted to heroin and opiates. They begin the process when they are prescribed powerful narcotic pain medication. In many cases the medical personnel prescribing these pain killers, do not make the high potential for addiction and abuse clear. Nor do they provide follow-ups to ensure that abuse has not started. When the prescription runs out the patients are left with no options. They often resort to heroin or other opiate based drugs to maintain their habits. Some desperate individuals end up breaking into homes looking for prescription medications. They don’t have any interest in the victim’s property, they want their prescription drugs.

The Culpeper Police Department wants to be involved at every level in response to this crisis. All too often the Department becomes aware of a problem with an individual after they arrive on scene of an overdose. These overdoses are happening daily, with some being reported to law enforcement and some going directly to the hospital. Recently, officers from the Department responded to three overdoses within a matter of hours. Currently, the only true corrective action to save a life is the use of an opiate reversing antidote, like NARCAN. Emergency Medical staff has this opiate reverser available on the ambulance.

There are no other options as effective as these opiate reversers to bring people back from an overdose. It is a life saving measure, and in response to the success of the opiate reversing antidote, the Culpeper Police Department will be training all its officers to utilize the antidote. If officers arrive before Emergency Medical staff, they will be able to administer the opiate reversing antidote increasing the odds of survival for the overdose victim. The downside is after the victim is brought back, there are very limited to no treatment options.

”In my 39 years of law enforcement service to Culpeper, I have never experienced a public health crisis as drastic and devastating as the one we are faced with now. Heroin and opiate addiction are slowly destroying many lives and negatively impacting our community in many ways. It is tearing at the very fabric of our lives. I ask public health officials to make this the highest priority, by not over prescribing pain killers, and providing more treatment options for those suffering,” urges Chief Chris Jenkins.

The Culpeper Police Department is asking everyone in the community to become involved in driving this plague from our lives and our community. There is no safe heroin, or one that is not deadly. Local law enforcement is looking to create partnerships to fight this crisis. Anyone seeking additional information from the Culpeper Police Department is asked to contact Captain Tim Chilton at (540) 829-5568.