NCHRC was recently featured Police Executive Research Forum on Naloxone

To read their full report, go to the following link: CLICK HERE

 

Robert Childs, MPH, Executive Director,

North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition:

Naloxone Is Safe, Inexpensive, and Easy for Officers to Use

 

NC Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) is North Carolina’s only comprehensive harm reduction program. NCHRC engages in grassroots advocacy, resource development, coalition building and direct services for law enforcement and those made vulnerable by drug use, overdose, HIV and hepatitis. Harm reduction is a way of preventing disease and promoting health that “meets people where they are” rather than making judgments about where they should be in terms of their personal health and lifestyle.

By accepting that not everyone is ready or able to stop risky or illegal behavior, harm reduction focuses on promoting scientifically proven ways of mitigating health risks associated with drug use and other high risk behaviors, including condom distribution, access to sterile syringes, and access to naloxone.  We work with law enforcement, public health agencies, service providers and people who use illegal and prescription drugs.

Currently we’re working in Georgia and North Carolina to help law enforcement officers implement needlestick prevention measures and overdose prevention programs that equip officers with the opioid overdose reversal medication, naloxone (Narcan).

Naloxone is actually a relatively cheap medication.  NCHRC passes out Intramuscular naloxone, which costs under $12 per Overdose Prevention Kit. Intranasal naloxone works just as well and is used by the majority of the 68+ law enforcement departments that carry naloxone in the US. The intranasal form is a bit more expensive, but doesn´t cost more than $60 for a two-dose naloxone kit.  I am happy to assist any department to equip their officers with naloxone.  Feel free to email me at robert.bb.childs@gmail.com or give me a call at 336-543-8050 and I can assist with developing policies, trainings or ordering naloxone.

Both forms of naloxone work excellently and have been proven not to promote drug use. We’ve seen more people accessing drug treatment in cities that have a naloxone program, because people are given a second chance at life.  Naloxone programs also mend and build community relationships, because community members start seeing law enforcement as lifesavers.   A recent study showed that when a community invests in community wide naloxone distribution, overdose mortality may decrease by up to 46% percent.  Another benefit of naloxone is that it decreases PTSD among law enforcement officers.  Equipping officers with naloxone allows them to reverse overdoses and prevent them from witnessing their community members dying in front of them, a common problem in Appalachia. 

Some states are going to need legal changes to run these programs. There are 24 states and DC that have good naloxone laws that take away civil and/or criminal liability for individuals who administer naloxone.

We’ve been polling officers on their attitudes toward carrying naloxone in NC, and have found that the vast majority want access to it ASAP. I’ve been dispensing naloxone to officers since August 2013, and after a training we always have long lines of officers queuing to get it, because they want to be part of the solution. There isn’t any controversy among the officers about the life-saving benefits of naloxone.

Another good thing about Naloxone is that it is incredibly durable. According to the 2008 Study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine called, “Alteration in prehospital drug concentration afterthermal exposure,” Naloxone can handle being in temperatures as low as 21 and as high as 129 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures for a 28 day period and keep a good concentration level of around 89%.  We always recommend that you keep the medicine at room temperature out of sunlight, but naloxone is a burly medication that can handle limited exposure to the high heat and cold winter days that officers frequently deal with in the community.