First responders getting device for opioid overdoses

TUSCUMBIA — Jimmy Looney mentioned there’s nothing extra helpless than being on the scene of an overdose and never having the ability to do something however look forward to an ambulance to reach.

“You know they have overdosed; you see all the signs, and there is nothing you can do but wait,” mentioned Looney, commander of the East Colbert Rescue Squad.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, greater than 100 individuals die day by day from opioid overdoses.

The identical research confirmed that in 2015, there have been 282 opioid overdose deaths in Alabama, and that quantity grew to 343 deaths in 2016.

“We see more and more of it,” Looney mentioned of the drug drawback.

State Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and the Alabama Department of Public Health, the state Emergency Management Agency and the state Board of Pharmacy have launched a statewide program to provide first responders a device for use to assist save the lives of anybody who has overdosed on opioids.

“We have kits that these emergency personnel will have that can save someone’s life,” mentioned Dial, who’s the previous chairman of the Senate Health Committee.

The kits include two auto-injectors of Narcan (Naloxone), which was accepted to be used in opioid overdoses in 1971. Health officers mentioned Narcan can reverse the results of an overdose and restore respiration.

Wednesday morning, Dial and representatives from the state Department of Public Health had been at Northwest-Shoals Community College to fulfill with space first responders, and prepare them on using the Narcan kits.

Dial mentioned he received concerned with this system when he heard about Kaleo Pharmaceuticals giving the state of Virginia Narcan kits.

“We all know the crisis we have in our nation and our state with opioid addiction and overdose, so I called the company,” Dial mentioned. “Kaleo is supplying 25,000 kits to be distributed throughout the state.

“We began assembly with first responders and handing out kits on May 2, and we plan on ending May 23.”

Opioids are a category of medicine that embrace the unlawful drug heroin, artificial opioids comparable to fentanyl, and ache relievers comparable to oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine and others out there legally by prescription.

When misused, opioid ache relievers can result in overdose incidents and deaths.

The Narcan kits, include three auto-injectors — one for coaching and two “live ones.”

“There are two that are complete,” mentioned Jamie Gray of the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Emergency Medical Services workplace. “They are used just like an epi-pen.”

After watching a brief video on the kits, Gray then demonstrated on himself the benefit of utilizing the auto-injector.

“You place it on the outer thigh of the patient, push it down, you hear a click, and then hold for five seconds,” he mentioned.

He mentioned if a affected person doesn’t reply inside 2 to three minutes, the primary responders ought to use the second auto-injector.

Gray mentioned the auto-injector is “just for opioid overdose” but when the overdose just isn’t from opioid “it will not hurt the patient.”

Jamey Durham, with the state Department of Public Health, mentioned the kits have already saved a life.

“We gave out kits two weeks ago and one was used Tuesday night and it worked, it saved the person’s life,” Durham mentioned. “That’s what this is all about.”

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