BENTON, Ark. (October 3, 2016) -- Officers with the Benton Police Department saved the life of an individual late Sunday through the use of a Naloxone kit and through their previous Naloxone training.
“I think it is an understatement how important the Naloxone kits and training are to the public,” Chief Kirk Lane said. “Today the kits combined with our officers training saved the life of an individual and that is why we felt the Naloxone was so important to bring to and instill in this department. We were the first agency in the state to give Naloxone kits to every officer and the first to train every officer with Naloxone kits. We hope this incident in which Naloxone was used to save a life will positively influence every agency, across the state and country, to acquire Naloxone kits.”
At approximately 11:58 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to the I-30 Courts for a report of a person possibly overdosed from suspected heroin. The individual was found unresponsive with labored breathing. Officers administered the Naloxone into the right nostril of the individual, but received no response. Officers administered the Naloxone a second time into the left nostril of the individual as Emergency Medical Technicians from Saline Memorial Hospital MedTran unit arrived and began giving oxygen to the individual.
An officer also rode with the individual in the ambulance, continuing to administer oxygen to the individual, while enroute to the Saline Memorial Hospital Emergency Room. Officers said the individual became responsive upon arrival to the Emergency Room.
Naloxone is a counter agent to opiate prescription drugs and heroin. When administered, naloxone restores respiration within two to five minutes, and may prevent brain injury or death. In 2014 there were 47,055 overdoses in the U.S., which calculates to 110 Americans dying every day from an overdose. Heroin overdose deaths have more than tripled in the past four years; there were 10,574 deaths from heroin overdose in 2014.
Providing officers with naloxone kits and training can reduce the time between when an overdose victim is discovered and when they receive lifesaving assistance.
The BNPD is the first agency in the state to produce a Naloxone Training video for officers, and the video has been certified through the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. Smith Drug Company has provided the Benton Police Department with 100 naloxone kits for officers to use in the field with individuals who have overdosed on opiates, including heroin and prescription pain relievers. Naloxone kits were prepared by Smith Drug Company under the authority of a prescribing physician, using one-time funding provided by Smith Drug Company.
The Arkansas legislature passed the Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act (Good Samaritan Law) in 2015 that provides immunity from arrest, charge and prosecution for people who seek medical assistance for drug overdose victims. The legislature also passed the Naloxone Access Act in 2015 that provides immunity to first responders from civil liability, criminal liability, or professional sanctions for prescribing, dispensing, and administering naloxone and other opioid antagonists if he or she is acting in good faith.
There is no evidence that first responder use of naloxone to revive people experiencing an opioid overdose encourages or enables drug addiction. There are no negative effects on an individual who receives naloxone but is determined to not have opioids in their body.
Throughout October, the BNPD initiative is to combat and educate the public on the dangers of drug abuse, whether it is illegal narcotics or prescribed medications, with the “Nope to Dope” initiative.
“The rate of overdose deaths across the country has risen dramatically, mostly due to opioid issues,” Lane said. “Along with the rise in methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin use that we are seeing in our own jurisdiction - and with the upcoming drug take back event - this initiative is not only about drug enforcement, it’s about increasing education to protect our citizens.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.” The CDC also states that since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin).
Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use, specifically among persons who report past-year dependence or abuse. The increased availability of heroin, combined with its relatively low price (compared with diverted prescription opioids) and high purity appear to be major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use and overdose.
The Benton Police Department encourages parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drug usage, because education is the key to helping us make a difference in our community. We can further reduce the lives this problem destroys by simply educating those around us and by taking time to secure and dispose of old medications.