Equipping Law Enforcement Officers with the Opioid Antagonist Naloxone
Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)
For the past several years, the nation has been under siege by an opioid crisis that has led to many overdose deaths (O’Donnell et al., 2017). The most common opioids being abused are prescription medications, heroin, and fentanyl. The opioid abusers are not alone in their risk of overdose. Other household members, including children, may accidentally be exposed to opioids present in their surroundings. Police officers are also at high risk of exposure due to their frequent contact with drug users. Exposure can occur through skin contact or by inhaling airborne powdered forms. Naloxone is a drug that immediately reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and can save lives in accidental overdose situations. Naloxone should be carried by all police officers. It is now available as a nasal spray that is very simple to administer, even by non-medical personnel. Legislation has been passed in Texas that permits law enforcement agencies to partner with pharmacies to acquire and carry the medication via a standing order. These partnerships, along with government or community grants, can also help control the cost of equipping all officers with it. If law enforcement officers, who are often the first responders to an overdose situation, are routinely equipped with naloxone, lives can be saved. The life may be a drug abuser who now has another chance, or that of a police officer who has been exposed to opioids while coming to an abuser’s aid.
Opioids--Overdose--Treatment--United States, Police Training