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Naloxone, a life-saving drug for people suffering from an overdose

Roseville, Calif.- Recently Roseville Police officers began carrying naloxone, a life-saving drug for people suffering from an overdose of opioid drugs.

The Roseville Police Department received the naloxone kits through a partnership with the Placer Nevada County Medical Society as part of a $50,000 grant from the California Health Care Foundation.

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The United States is experiencing an epidemic of opioid addiction. According to the National Institute of Health, deaths in the U.S. from opioid overdoses, including prescription narcotic painkillers and heroin, jumped from around 12,000 in 2002 to about 33,000 in 2015.

In Placer County, annual drug-poisoning deaths doubled from six in 2002 to twelve in 2014.  Fortunately, there are steps first responders can take to prevent some of these deaths.  The opioid antagonist naloxone is an easily administered drug that acts within minutes to restore breathing if administered quickly enough after an opioid overdose.

Editor’s Note: Evidence continues to show that medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates.

Roseville Fire paramedics have carried naloxone in the field for many years.  In a recently tracked two-year period, either Roseville Fire or ambulance company medics administered naloxone to 89 overdose patients in Roseville and saw respiratory improvement.  In order to save more lives, the State of California enacted laws allowing local health authorities to issue prescriptions for certain trained lay people, such as family members of opioid users and law enforcement officers, to carry and administer naloxone when an overdose is suspected.

Naloxone lends itself well to administration by lay people-it’s available as a nasal spray, and it only works on opioid overdoses.  If the patient is having another medical issue, the drug won’t have an effect, but it also won’t harm them.Although the Roseville Fire Department has excellent response times to medical emergencies, Roseville Police officers may sometimes be the first on the scene of an overdose.

The Roseville Police Department has partnered with the Placer Nevada County Medical Society’s Opioid Safety Coalition to secure grant funding and initiate a pilot project to provide naloxone to its officers. Roseville PD is joining a short list of California law enforcement agencies that carry this lifesaving medication.Anyone who wants help with drug addiction, or family members who may want to obtain a prescription for naloxone for a loved one at risk for overdose should contact their healthcare provider.

Placer County also offers free walk-in screening clinics for people struggling with substance abuse issues, and concerned family members and friends.

Placer County walk-in substance abuse screening clinic times and locations:

  • Monday  10 am to 11 am, 101 Cirby Hills Drive, Roseville, CA
  • Tuesday 1 pm to 2 pm, 11522 B Avenue, Auburn, CA
  • Wednesday 1 pm to 2 pm,  10810 Justice Center Drive, Roseville, CA
  • Thursday 4 pm to 5 pm, 101 Cirby Hills Drive, Roseville, CA
  • Friday 10 am to 11 am, 11522 B Avenue, Auburn, CA
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