Battling an Epidemic
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. The CDC also states that “[o]verdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) have increased almost six times since 1999.” The United States is amidst an overdose crisis and in addition to healthcare providers and public health personnel, law enforcement must now be equipped with the tools to address this epidemic head-on, on a daily basis.
An opioid is a commonly prescribed pain reliever that attaches to receptors in the brain, blocking pain and slowing a person’s breathing. Morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and tramadol are all examples of powerful opioids prescribed by doctors today. High doses of opioids, however, can lead to a life-threatening overdose where the person’s breathing slows too much or stops completely. An overdose can occur if an individual misuses the medication or mixes the opioid with certain anti-anxiety medications.
When Seconds Count
Naloxone (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray is FDA-approved for the emergency treatment of an opioid overdose and requires no assembly or medical training. The treatment was developed for first responders as well as for use in a home setting, and is widely available at pharmacies without a prescription. Naloxone can be used to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose – if the treatment is administered in time. Historically, law enforcement officers have not been required to carry Naloxone on their person. Often times, officers keep Naloxone in their vehicles as opposed to on-hand. However, in light of the alarming spike in opioid overdoses across the nation, more departments are now requiring that officers add Naloxone to the number of items carried on their duty belts for split-second access. With more than two decades of experience in Special Operations Medicine as a member of Marine Reconnaissance and Marine Special Operations Command, Blair Dell explains: “Between 911 call-in, dispatch, response, and securing the scene, the average 4-minute window to save an opioid overdose patient who’s not breathing is cut down to seconds. Running back to the vehicle to get a tool is not what right looks like.”
Innovation & Optimism
Fully loaded, an officer’s duty gear will often weight up to twenty pounds. It’s no surprise that LEO’s are highly selective when adding another tool to their belt. That’s exactly why Hero’s Pride has developed the Naloxone Nasal Spray Case Series. These cases are ultra-lightweight and available under both Hero’s Pride duty gear lines, AIRTEK® and Ballistic. Cases accommodate one packaged 4mg canister of Naloxone and come in two different attachment styles so that any law enforcement officer or public safety professional can add it to their duty belt or clip it to their gear bag. These holders have been specifically engineered to be durable, scratch-resistant, and lightweight to minimize strain on the lower back. “It’s mere inches and ounces on the belt to give someone a second chance at life,” adds Dell.
Hero’s Pride is deeply committed to making it more convenient for officers across the country to begin carrying Naloxone on their person. Solving the opioid crisis our nation is facing will take time and a combined effort of education, prevention, and accessible treatment. Naloxone gives us the ability to save lives, but if we are to truly harness the power of this tool, it must be immediately accessible.