Overdose Reversal Drug Naloxone Is Saving Lives, But Not All Police Departments Are On Board

Right, because the complexity of someone’s work schedule is more important that the life of a human being.

Posted: 10/17/2015 09:03 AM EDT | By Jason Cherkis and Nick Wing
“WASHINGTON — Amid the heroin epidemic, there is little disagreement over the effectiveness of naloxone, the medication that can revive opioid addicts from an overdose. It has come to be seen as an essential tool to combat the skyrocketing number of overdoses.
It’s easy to see why. The medication, used in the form of a spray or a shot, is simple to administer. Because it can send a person into immediate withdrawal and doesn’t produce a high, naloxone, also known by its brand name, Narcan, has no street value if diverted to the black market.
But even after states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania passed laws expanding access to the naloxone for first responders and protecting them from potential liability, some law enforcement agencies resist carrying the lifesaving medicine.
In Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney James Martin set up a program to offer police departments free naloxone kits. But the Allentown Police Department so far has refused the offer. Martin told The Huffington Post that the excuse he was given was that it would be too complicated to move naloxone kits from one vehicle to another during shift changes.
“It’s not very complicated,” Martin said. “They just don’t want to do it. Every other police department in the country is doing it without any logistical problems that I’m aware of.”
Lehigh County Coroner Scott M. Grim said the county has had 91 drug-related deaths in 2015. More than half have been from opioids — deaths that might have been prevented with naloxone. Allentown’s police chief, Joel Fitzgerald, did not return calls seeking comment.
About 30 miles west, Northern Berks Regional Police Chief Scott Eaken isn’t rushing to get naloxone for his officers, though he told HuffPost that he hasn’t rejected the idea. Eaken said his department responds to a handful of opioid overdoses each year, and paramedics equipped with naloxone often are first on the scene. He said his reluctance is unlikely to be swayed by a hypothetical situation in which the medication could save a life.
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 4: Portland Fire and EMS stock Narcan / Naloxone on all their paramedic trucks in Portland, ME on July 4, 2015. Over the years, calls of overdose and related "cardiac arrest" calls have increased in the city and become routine. EMS paramedics have saved countless lives by administering Narcan (aka Naloxone) a medication that counteracts opiod especially in overdose situations. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME – JULY 4: Portland Fire and EMS stock Narcan / Naloxone on all their paramedic trucks in Portland, ME on July 4, 2015. Over the years, calls of overdose and related “cardiac arrest” calls have increased in the city and become routine. EMS paramedics have saved countless lives by administering Narcan (aka Naloxone) a medication that counteracts opiod especially in overdose situations. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
“Is that going to justify me having to take naloxone in and out of the police car every shift, every day, flip it back and forth between the cars for something that maybe I can envision?” Eaken asked. “Where does it stop for police? We’re carrying everything under the sun, now we’re going to be medical people. At what point does it stop?”
The Columbus, Ohio, police department, which covers a city of more than 800,000, has refused to allow officers to carry naloxone. Sgt. Rich Weiner explained to HuffPost that there were potential issues with storing the drug and expiration dates. But the department’s officers do carry pepper spray, which also has an expiration date.
“We have close to 900 patrol officers,” Weiner said. “Where are we going to store [the naloxone]? … It’s easier for the medics to carry it.”
Weiner added that law enforcement and city officials met on the issue and decided that fire department personnel should carry the naloxone, but not police officers. The response time from paramedics is “very good,” Weiner said. Still, he acknowledged there were instances when police arrived on a scene before the paramedics.”CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE>>>>

Overdose Reversal Drug Naloxone Is Saving Lives, But Not All Police Departments Are On Board

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