The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has joined a growing list of law enforcement agencies across the country to equip certain Department members with Naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose.
Since the Department implemented Naloxone, it has proven effective as witnessed during the week spanning May 12 to May 17, 2019 when deputies responded to an overdose in the 52100 block of Avenida Villa in La Quinta, according to the Sheriff’s’ Department. Deputies located an adult female breathing, but unresponsive in the restroom. Information was relayed to deputies that the subject had overdosed on heroin and methamphetamine and based on the objective symptoms, Naloxone was administered. The female became responsive and was later transported to an area hospital as a medical precaution.
Opioid overdose is reversible through the timely administration of naloxone, which has been used by emergency medical services for decades, according to the American Journal of Public Health. Law enforcement officers are often the first emergency responders to arrive at an overdose, but until recently they have not typically been equipped with naloxone.
This is rapidly changing; more than 220 law enforcement agencies in at least 24 states now carry naloxone.
One of the intervention’s early adopters, the Quincy, Massachusetts, Police Department, launched its law enforcement overdose reversal program in 2010 and has reversed more than 300 overdoses to date, according to the Public Health Journal. More recently, New York State allocated $5 million in drug forfeiture funds to purchasing naloxone and funding law enforcement overdose training, which has resulted in adoption of naloxone initiatives by more than 150 law enforcement agencies in the state, including the New York City Police Department, in which more than 20 000 street-level personnel will carry the medication.
The purpose of implementing Naloxone is so Riverside Sheriff’s Department members have an additional tool available to use during certain medical emergencies. Recognizing the importance of providing rapid aid to individuals in an opioid-induced medical emergency, including Department members inadvertently exposed to harmful agents such as fentanyl, can prove beneficial when performing life-saving measures.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. Naloxone can quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin, fentanyl, or prescription opioid pain medications often times seen when responding to calls for service. The Department selected the FDA-approved formulation of Naloxone manufactured by Adapt Pharma, known as Narcan®. Narcan® nasal spray is a pre-filled, needle-free device that requires no assembly and is administered into one nostril.
Prior to being provided Naloxone, each Department member is trained on its proper storage and use. These training standards meet all requirements as indicated by the Riverside County Emergency Medical Services Agency (REMSA), and abide by state law.
Anyone with questions related to the implementation of Naloxone is encouraged to contact the Ben Clark Training Center at (951) 486-2800.
- Naloxone: Vancouver Courier