Overdose Reversal Drug Saves Lives, But Some Police Won't Carry It

| by Michael Allen

According to recent reports, more Americans die from drug overdoses than car accidents in 36 states. Naloxone is a medication that can revive addicts who have overdosed on opioids (heroin, prescription pain killers), but it does not provide a high and has no street value.

Naloxone can be easily sprayed or given as a shot to save someone's life, but some police departments are refusing to carry it, notes The Huffington Post.

The Allentown, Pennsylvania, Police Department has refused offers of naloxone kits from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney James Martin.

Martin says that police department claims it's just too complicated to move the naloxone kits from one car to another, an excuse that he doesn't buy.

“It’s not very complicated,” Martin told the website. “They just don’t want to do it. Every other police department in the country is doing it without any logistical problems that I’m aware of.”

Allentown Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald would not return calls from The Huffington Post.

Northern Berks Regional Police Chief Scott Eaken, also in Pennsylvania, told the news site:

Is that going to justify me having to take naloxone in and out of the police car every shift, every day, flip it back and forth between the cars for something that maybe I can envision? Where does it stop for police? We're carrying everything under the sun, now we're going to be medical people. At what point does it stop?

This isn't some kid trying a joint. This isn't some kid snorting a line of coke. These are people who are sticking needles in their bodies. Sometimes a dirty needle. If there's anybody that needs help or needs to be required to get help if we save their ass, it's them ... I'm all for saving them, but then what responsibility is there on their part?

The Columbus, Ohio, Police Department, won't let its cops carry naloxone either.

“We have close to 900 patrol officers,” Columbus Police Sgt. Rich Weiner stated. “Where are we going to store [the naloxone]? … It’s easier for the medics to carry it.”

The U.S. Department of Justice gave out naloxone tool kits in 2014 to promote the drug to local police departments, and President Obama's 2016 budget includes money earmarked for law enforcement agencies to purchase naloxone.

The New York Times reported in 2014 that police departments were equipping their police officers with naloxone and saving lives in Suffolk County, New York, and Quincy, Massachusetts; more programs were planned for Boston, San Diego and New York City.

Sources: The Huffington Post, The New York Times / Photo Credit: Intropin/Wikimedia