LAWRENCE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell has announced that on-duty deputies will now be issued naloxone overdose kits.
The program is a joint effort between the sheriff's office, Lawrence County District Attorney Errek Jett, the Office of Prosecution Services and the State of Alabama Health Department.
Mitchell said this is a "vital tool needed to combat opioid crisis" in Alabama. The program allowed law enforcement agencies to receive certain amounts of naloxone to be administered during an opioid drug overdose. Mitchell said naloxone is a prescription medication that can reverse an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain and restoring breathing.
Mitchell said the naloxone that his office received is injection kits. When used in the case of an opioid overdose, deputies will inject the naloxone into a muscle. Mitchell said that during the injection process, the person who is experiencing an opioid overdose can produce withdrawal symptoms and become combative due to their high going away.
Naloxone does not reverse overdoses that are caused by nonopioid drugs. Mitchell said side effects are rare in most cases if naloxone is given to someone that is not experiencing an opioid overdose.
Mitchell said agents and deputies will receive training. After that, agents and on-duty deputies will begin carrying the naloxone injection kits in their patrol vehicles.
Mitchell said that by having access to the naloxone injection kits, deputies and agents may be able to prevent opioid drug users from having to wait extended periods of time while waiting for medical help to arrive on scenes before receiving naloxone, which could prevent a fatal opioid overdose.
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