Seventy-five kits containing the opiate/opioid overdose reversal medication, naloxone, were issued to Columbia Police officers yesterday. More kits will be issued in the coming weeks.
Officers that were equipped with the naloxone medication, also known under its brand name Narcan ®, were trained over the last few months in administering the nasal spray. The training was provided by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and included a train-the-trainer program so training can be provided in-house to officers who have yet received it, as well as new officers as they are hired. The kits were funded through a grant from the Missouri Opioid-Heroin Overdose Prevention and Education (MO-HOPE) Project. They include a dose of the naloxone nasal spray, nitrile gloves, safety glasses, instructions for use, naloxone use report, and resource guides for services that assist with narcotics addiction.
"This is an essential tool to combat the number of overdoses in our community," says Lt. Krista Shouse-Jones, the department's naloxone program coordinator.
Since January 1, 2017, officers have been dispatched to over 200 overdoses in the City of Columbia. These overdoses are not specific to opiate/opioids, and include alcohol and other narcotics; with that in mind, the Columbia Fire Department reports they've administered 21 doses of naloxone since they equipped their personnel in January this year.
"Our officers may be the first on the scene on some of these calls. Having them equipped with naloxone has the potential to save even more lives," says Lt. Shouse-Jones.
Officers are expected to carry their kits with them in their patrol vehicle while on duty. Additionally, officers may choose to carry the kits with them while off-duty or while working extra-duty law enforcement employment.