Heroin use hit home heavy in the Piedmont region some time ago and law enforcement officials continue their battle against overdoses. Naloxone is a medication that rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose and is the standard treatment for overdose. Until fairly recently administering this medication needed to be in the hands of trained medical personnel in emergency departments as it was done via syringe.
When it became available as a nasal spray, police officers nationwide were added to the ranks of those who could administer the drug.
For members of the Culpeper Town Police it’s all about saving lives. If one of their officers arrives on the scene before EMT personnel, they want to be able to help.
In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription treatment that can be used by family members or caregivers to treat a person known or suspected to have had an opioid overdose. Evzio (naloxone hydrochloride injection) rapidly delivers a single dose of the drug naloxone via a hand-held auto-injector that can be carried in a pocket or stored in a medicine cabinet.
Evzio isn’t inexpensive. A single dose can range from $400-600. But, they are very easy to use.
Captain Tim Chilton was eager to add Evzio to their arsenal. Introduced last week, Chilton now has some 40 doses available for use thanks to a grant that he secured for the department.
Working very much like an EpiPen, when you are ready to inject, a voice guides you through the process.
5-4-3-2-1 – Injection Complete
It’s that simple.
Since August, four lives have been saved in Culpeper with the use of Narcan. Surrounding counties are also experiencing saves due to this drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose.
Chilton is also keen on protecting narcotics officers who are often at risk for accidental inhaling of drugs, like Fentanyl, which is powder fine and highly lethal. Chilton said that they are looking to perhaps change their procedure and not field test if they suspect the substance is a drug.
“Fentanyl is like a puff of dust…if an officer inhales it, he/she can feel the effect and will need to immediately self-administer a dose.”
“We are continuing our outreach process,” said Chilton, “making it available in a variety of places including inpatient and outpatient facilities.”
Not to be an alarmist, Chilton stressed that while there “have been no issues at the schools” that school administrators at the high schools do have the auto-injectors in the event that they should need one.
“I’m very glad that the officers can carry these devices when they are out on the streets,” said Chilton, “it’s another way that we can save lives and help.”