A step toward saving more lives

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 5, 2017

Shortly after emergency medical personnel began carrying a life-saving antidote, Gov. Phil Bryant announced this week that law enforcement would follow suit.

Mississippi State Troopers and other state officials will begin carrying an overdose antidote.

The announcement comes as the result of a state task force on combatting opioid abuse, an ongoing problem across the state as well as here in Pearl River County.

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Although this county only has three assigned troopers, it is a step in the right direction to know that in case of an emergency, they will be equipped to administer that antidote.

The state is funding this program through a $3.6 million federal grant.

Some dosages of the antidotes will also be given to sheriff’s departments and local police departments in the most critical areas of the state.

While that money won’t directly trickle down to our local agencies, it gives us hope that similar grants will be made available to smaller departments in the future.

But for now, the community needs to continue to focus on combatting drug overdoses at the root of the problem, not just treating them as they occur.

While treatment is important, it’s also important to figure out ways to prevent addiction. The task force made several other recommendations to the state in this regard, including a possible tax on prescription drugs to cover the costs of opioid treatments as well as more severe penalties for those who sell heroin and fentanyl.

Targeting those who sell these harmful drugs rather than those who are abusing them is a priority for many states.

But right now, it’s good to see the state government actively working with medical professionals and law enforcement to help save lives.