MHP gets medicine to stop opioid overdose in its tracks

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health and the Department of Public Safety are working together to provide state troopers with doses of Naloxone, sold under the brand name NARCAN. It is a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Governor Phil Bryant announced the initiative last week based on a recommendation made by his Opioid and Heroin Study Task Force, a DPS press release states.
The antidote will be distributed to all Mississippi Highway Patrol Troopers and other state and local agencies under a $3.6 million federal grant, according to the Associated Press.
Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop K Public Information Officer Chase Elkins said troopers will begin carrying the life-saving antidote after they undergo training.
Elkins said he underwent the training Monday to learn how and when to use it. His training included information about what to do after it’s used and how to store it.
Once the rest of the troopers in the area are trained over the next couple of months, Elkins said he expects the antidote to become another tool at their disposal.
“It’s very possible that a lot of departments will benefit from it; obviously the public will benefit from it,” Elkins said.
After the dose is administered, the subject will still need to be transported to the hospital for treatment, he said.
That’s because an overdose can still occur after the medication wears off in about 30 to 60 minutes, the release states.
The use of the medicine will be based on each trooper’s discretion, Elkins said.
“It all depends on the circumstances we’re thrown into,” he said.
Whether a trooper is responding to a wreck, a traffic stop or even someone lying on the side of the highway, Elkins said each trooper could encounter an overdose.
“Any time you have an extra tool it’s always beneficial,” he said.
Earlier this year, the state also passed HB 996, which allows an individual to purchase Naloxone at a pharmacy without a prescription. Walgreens and CVS have enacted standing orders for the medication, the release states.
In the end, securing the safety of the public through this new resource is an exciting addition to the department, Elkins said.

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About Julia Arenstam

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