Kentucky drug overdoses lead police officers to carry naloxone

By September 9, 2016 June 13th, 2017 Addiction News

In the upcoming week, Lexington police officers plan to begin carrying a potentially life-saving medication to counteract Kentucky drug overdoses, according The Lexington Herald-Leader.

In past weeks there have been numerous reports of increases in drug overdoses, in the state of Kentucky and beyond its borders. Over the long Labor Day weekend, 15 Kentuckians were reported to have suffered from a heroin overdose. Although that number may not be as high as some officials expected given the recent surge in overdoses, a tragic fact remained: 12 of the 15 people who overdosed died as a consequence. And these are the known cases. This story provides some information about why we don’t know the exact number of Kentucky drug overdoses treated due to the process of reporting patient data.

Our most recent blog post covered several of the heroin overdose spikes being reported in places like Montgomery County, Ky., Cincinnati, Oh., and Huntington, WV. The crisis in West Virginia had become a national news story, and in short time it proved to be just one of the first of many tragic overdose outbreaks affecting states in the region. Reports surfaced that a strain of the drug was circulating that was mixed with a substance even more deadly than fentanyl. The substance is carfentanil, used on its own as an elephant tranquilizer. Officials claimed that this substance is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.

That’s the context for Lexington police plans to equip patrol and special operations officers with Narcan, or naloxone. The city apparently wants to ensure that any first responder will have the means to reverse these easily fatal overdoses before it’s too late. Lexington Fire Department/ EMS personnel already carry the medication. In addition, Kroger pharmacies have begun selling the drug overdose antidote naloxone to individuals with no prescription required.

Top image by C. McFarland is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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