EPD Officers being equipped with Naloxone to combat surge in Opioid Overdoses

Published On January 2, 2019 | By Rob Arias | Crime & Public Safety, News & Commentary

Barely a week after completing training to recognize opioid overdose symptoms and how to administer a lifesaving antidote, Emeryville Police Officers were put to the test.

Emeryville Police Department vehicles had just recently been equipped with doses of Naloxone, a drug proven to counteract the symptoms of an opioid overdose. Naloxone, better known by its brand name “Narcan,” is administered via a nasal spray and works by “knocking” opioids off receptors in the brain that suppress breathing during an overdose.

Days before Christmas, Emeryville Police Officers responded to areport of an unresponsive person at the Watergate complex. When the officers arrived, the subject of the call was unresponsive, had constrained breathing and a “blue” skin discoloration.

Responding Officer Jeremy McBroom recognized the symptoms as that of an opioid overdose and a friend of the subject confirmed that she had ingested opioids before becoming unresponsive.

McBroom quickly made the decision to administer Naloxone which helped stabilize the patient’s breathing. The victim was then transported by paramedics to a local hospital for emergency medical treatment.

“This incident was not only a great opportunity for our officer to put his newly learned lifesaving skills to the test,” said Emeryville Police Captain Oliver Collins, “but it was very fortunate for the victim that we had this treatment available.” Collins noted that prior to purchasing the Naloxone and equipping officers with it, they had to get their administrative procedures signed off by the County EMS Director, Dr. Karl Sporer.


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According to the CDC, more than 400,000 people in the U.S. have died from opioid-related deaths between 1999 and 2017. Incidence of fatal overdoses by ingesting opioids has been increasing rapidly since 2013 driven in large part by the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl, often sourced from China or Mexico, is generally cheaper and more powerful than prescription painkillers or heroin.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams recently issued an advisory endorsing the use of Naloxone to combat the increasing incidents. The DEA issued a nationwide alert cautioning Fentanyl as a threat to our health and public safety.

The State of California recently granted funding for the distribution of Narcan spray to 56 of the state’s 61 local health departments including The Alameda County Emergency Medical Services Agency. The program is being funded by a $3 million grant approved by state legislators in 2016. Berkeley Police have also recently been equipped with Nalaxone.

The proliferation of Naloxone has not come without controversy as one academic study by two economists determined that following the legal availability of the drug, opioid-related arrests and ER visits both went up and there was no overall impact on the death rate. Other studies have reached the opposite conclusion.

It is important to note that neither victims’ of overdoses nor those that report them result in any criminal charges for being under the influence of an illegal substance.

 

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

One Response to EPD Officers being equipped with Naloxone to combat surge in Opioid Overdoses

  1. Betty Tyler says:

    Great news! Hope Oakland follows suit.

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