A Central Texas law enforcement agency was taught how to give a drug that could save someone's life if they've overdosed.
The Centers for Disease Control says the national opioid epidemic is showing no signs of slowing down and its led to lots of overdoses.
According to CDC:
- 115 Americans die each day from opioid overdose.
- From 1999 to 2016, 350,000 people died from opioid overdoses.
- The number of deaths related to opioid overdoses in 2016 was five times higher than in 1999.
It's been almost two years since Governor Abbott signed a bill into law allowing police officers to use Narcan, a drug that can block the effects of an overdose.
For the first time since Senate Bill 1462 was signed into action, the Bell County Sheriff's Department is trained and ready to use the lifesaving drug, Narcan.
"If we equip our first responders with this antidote, we have the opportunity to save lives and make rescues of patients who overdose on these medications," Taylor Ratcliff, an emergency physician for Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, said.
Bell County Sheriff deputies will now carry two doses of the drug.
"It's going to be good for the deputies who most of the time, in the rural areas, beat everybody else to the scene," said Cpt. Donnie Adams with the Bell County Sheriff's Office.
The drug blocks the toxic effects of the opioid, prevents breathing problems, and ultimately cardiac arrest.
If you use it on someone not suffering from opioid use, there is no harm done.
"If we administer this medication to a patient who did not have opioids on board, it's almost as safe as squirting water in their nose," Ratcliff added.
That's a fact that eases the minds of deputies.
"As first responders, you really can't mess it up, because most deputies and most first responders worry about, if I do something am I going to do more harm than good?" Cpt. Adams added.
Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative is dedicated to reducing the number of opioid overdose deaths across Texas.
"I found myself in the grips of opioid use and, at one point, I actually overdosed and was rescued by this medication," Mark Kinzly, Co-founder of the Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative, said.
And now, he wants to make sure others have the chance to be rescued, too. So, today they donated nearly six thousand dollars worth of the opioid overdose prevention medication to the Bell County Sheriff's Department.
"I want to make sure I have this medication in case I need it... whereas if I need it and don't have it, people die as a result of that... and dead people don't get better," Kinzly added.
Anyone is able to purchase Narcan, all they need is a prescription.
People can even ask for a prescription for someone they know battling opioid addiction so they are prepared in case that individual ever overdoses.
Narcan is covered by most insurances, and the copay is expected to be around $20.
However, it is around $150 for someone without medical insurance.
It is advised that Narcan not be left in cars or exposed to direct light. It doesn't expire for 10 years.
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