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Cops have saved at least 5 lives with Naloxone overdose treatment

By Rick Sherman

At least five lives have been saved since Naloxone kits were first introduced to area law enforcement officers last May.
That’s according to Carbon County Emergency Management spokeswoman Whitney Waterfall, who said it’s not just hyperbole. “Officers are often first on the scene of an overdose and, “Oxygen is life, time is life,” she asserted. The faster Naloxone can be administered, the better the likelihood a life can be saved, and brain damage can be averted.

SE Utah has high death rate

The national epidemic of pain killer and heroin overdose deaths has spread throughout rural Utah, and among Utah’s local health districts, Southeast Utah had a significantly higher opioid death rate compared with the rest of the state.
The Emergency Management Office oversees the grant for the program and dispenses the Naloxone Kits. Funding for the kits was provided Four Corners Behavioral Health from a state grant.

Easily administered

The kits, under the brand name Narcan, are in the form of a nasal spray, which is used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose. Opioid overdose kills by causing respiratory depression which can lead to cardiac arrest. Narcan intervenes by replacing the opioid in the receptors of the brain, which allows the victim to breathe again.
Waterfall noted, “The nasal spray may be administered more than once per overdose episode. It’s a fairly low dosage of 1 milliliter and may wear off while the opioid may still be in their [overdose victim’s] system.” She said Naloxone is completely harmless and has no side effects.
The Emergency Management Office distributes the Naloxone kits to area law enforcement officers and firefighters. Waterfall says so far 60 kits have been issued, and officers from the Carbon County Sheriff’s Department, Price, Helper, Wellington, East Carbon City and USU Eastern Police Departments have been trained to administer the nasal spray. Kits are also available to the general public through Four Corners Behavioral Health.
“The Naloxone program is a wonderful thing,” Whitney opined. “It’s good for the community, and it’s good for the morale of the police officers who may have felt helpless in these incidents the past. Now they can do something.”

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