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Police Preventing Opiate Drug Overdose Deaths

NCJ Number
Techbeat Dated: January/February 2014 Pages: 13-17
Date Published
February 2014
5 pages
This article describes programs in Quincy, MA, and Suffolk County, NY, in which police officers use naloxone hydrochloride, also known as Narcan, to counter the effects of opiates, so as to reduce the number of deaths from opiate drug overdoses.

Police are often the first on the scene of an emergency; and in Quincy, police respond to every medical emergency call. Prior to the police carrying nasal Narcan, the communities of Quincy, Braintree, and Weymouth experienced a surge in heroin use accompanied by 99 overdose deaths due to opiates in an 18-month period, 47 of which were in Quincy. Police and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health cooperated in establishing the Narcan program. The success of the pilot program resulted in all 200 officers in the Quincy Police Department being required to carry nasal Narcan. Narcan blocks the effects of opiates on the brain. The program has both saved lives and increased the community's confidence in police public safety efforts. Each Narcan dose costs about $22 and is paid for by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The Quincy program has thus far cost approximately $8,000. The intranasal Narcan program in the Suffolk County Police Department has experienced success similar to that in Quincy, MA. The results of these programs have caught the interest of other police departments throughout the Nation.

Date Published: February 1, 2014