ALEXANDRIA, Va. and STAMFORD, Conn., Dec. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) and pharmaceutical manufacturer Purdue Pharma L.P. announced the launch of a pilot program to support training of front-line officers on the use of the "rescue drug" naloxone, which can reverse the fatal overdose effects of some opioids, including heroin. Also as part of this initiative, select law enforcement agencies will receive overdose kits to be disseminated in certain jurisdictions.
"Funding for this initiative is made possible through a $350,000 grant from Purdue Pharma," said NSA Executive Director Jonathan Thompson. "Deaths from opioid overdoses continue unabated and we are grateful to Purdue Pharma for supporting this NSA program and law enforcement efforts to save lives."
The number of states that have enacted "rescue drug" laws, allowing broader access to naloxone, has doubled since 2013. These laws, first adopted by New Mexico in 2007,1 enable medical professionals and first responders to administer naloxone, without fear of legal repercussions.
"For more than a decade we've worked with law enforcement to combat prescription drug abuse," said Mark Timney, Chief Executive Officer of Purdue Pharma. "We're proud to continue that commitment by supporting this life-saving program."
NSA Board Member and Chair of NSA's Drug Enforcement Committee, Sheriff Keith Cain of Daviess County, Ky., one of the three states hardest hit by drug overdose deaths2 said, "Studies of naloxone have shown to be effective in saving lives by preventing or reversing the effects of opioid overdose, such as respiratory failure, sedation and low blood pressure."3
"Training and equipping deputies with naloxone is similar to putting a defibrillator, a tourniquet or other lifesaving equipment in squad cars," said Sheriff Rich Stanek of Hennepin County, Minn.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 in the U.S. die every day from overdose of prescription painkillers.4 Many of these tragedies could be prevented with the administration of naloxone.
"As first responders and leaders within our community, we must equip law enforcement with all the tools necessary to combat this epidemic, and I am proud that the nation's Sheriffs are leading this charge," said Thompson.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL SHERIFFS' ASSOCIATION
The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) is a professional organization dedicated to serving the Office of Sheriff and its affiliates through police education, police training, and general law enforcement information resources. With headquarters located in Alexandria, Va., the NSA represents thousands of sheriffs, deputies and other law enforcement, public safety professionals, and concerned citizens nationwide. The NSA provides programs for Sheriffs, their deputies, chiefs of police, and others in the field of criminal justice to perform their jobs in the best possible manner and to better serve the people of their cities, counties or jurisdictions. For more information, please visit http://www.sheriffs.org.
ABOUT PURDUE PHARMA L.P.
Purdue Pharma L.P. is a privately-held pharmaceutical company headquartered in Stamford, Conn. Purdue Pharma is part of a network of independent associated companies dedicated to providing patients and providers with innovative medicines. The company's leadership and employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers quality products and educational resources that make a positive impact on healthcare — and on lives. For more information, please visit www.purduepharma.com.
1 "Legal Interventions To Reduce Overdose Mortality: Naloxone Access And Overdose Good Samaritan Laws," The Network for Public Health Law, accessed December 1, 2015, https://www.networkforphl.org/_asset/qz5pvn/network-naloxone-10-4.pdf
2 Levi, J., Segal, L., & Martin, A. (2015). The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report. Trust for America's Health.
3 Kim, D., Irwin, K., Khoshnood, K. Expanded Access to Naloxone: Options for Critical Response to the Epidemic of Opioid Overdose Mortality. Am J Public Health. 2009 March; 99(3): 402–407, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2661437/
4 "Injury Prevention & Control: Prescription Drug Overdose," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed November 30, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/
SOURCE Purdue Pharma L.P.