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NEW: Sen. Jabour Urges RI Police to Carry Narcan to Halt Drug ODs

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

 

RI Senator Paul V. Jabour is urging police chiefs across the state to support a proposal to arm all police officers with a drug that halts drug overdoses.

“Police are very often the first responder on the scenes of overdoses. Every second counts when it comes to saving a person who overdoses, and officers would be able to save lives if only they have the right equipment – overdose kits for the administration of Narcan,” wrote Senator Jabour (D-Dist. 5, Providence), in a letter sent Wednesday to Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements Jr.

The Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association is considering a request from public health officials for municipal police officers to begin carrying naloxone, also known by the trade name Narcan, a prescription medication that reverses the effects of overdoses of opiates, including heroin and many commonly abused prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin.

State Police Supt. Col. Steven O’Donnell recently announced that all state troopers would soon be trained in administering the drug and would begin carrying it, and Department of Health Director Dr. Michael Fine has asked that municipal police do so as well.

Senator Jabour wrote to Colonel Clements today to express his support for the measure as a means to combat the epidemic, which had claimed 45 people in the state this year as of last week, twice the usual number by this time of year. Senator Jabour said he has heard from numerous concerned constituents who believe officers should be equipped with Narcan.

Police likely to encounter overdose victims

“Police officers are exactly the type of people who should be administering Narcan, because they are likely to encounter overdose victims, they are accustomed to maintaining their calm in emergency situations and they are devoted to maintaining public safety,” he said in the letter.

He said he understands that outfitting every officer will come with a price – the drug retails for about $25 a dose as an injectable and $40 for a nasal spray – but he is confident that a way could be found to finance its purchase, perhaps with grants, discounts and assistance from retailers.

Collaborative practice agreement

Walgreens has worked with the state to allow any person to buy the drug without their own prescription at any of its 26 Rhode Island stores under a “collaborative practice agreement.” That agreement allows an addiction specialist at Miriam Hospital, Dr. Josiah Rich, to be the standing prescriber for anyone who wants to buy the drug, either for immediate use or as a precaution, for themselves or anyone else.

 

Related Slideshow: New England States with Highest Marijuana Arrest Rates

Prev Next

6. Massachusetts

National Rank for Arrests per Capita: 51

2010 Arrests Per Capita: 18

National Rank for Raw Arrests: 49

2010 Raw Arrests: 1,191

Photo: Flickr/Blind Nomad

Prev Next

5. Vermont

National Rank for Arrests per Capita: 48

2010 Arrests Per Capita: 119

National Rank for Raw Arrests: 51

2010 Raw Arrests: 737

Photo: Flickr/Victor

Prev Next

4. New Hampshire

National Rank for Arrests per Capita: 33

2010 Arrests Per Capita: 210

National Rank for Raw Arrests: 41

2010 Raw Arrests: 2,769

Photo: Flickr/Blind Nomad

Prev Next

3. Rhode Island

National Rank for Arrests per Capita: 31

2010 Arrests Per Capita: 214

National Rank for Raw Arrests: 43

2010 Raw Arrests: 2,243

 
 
Prev Next

2. Maine

National Rank for Arrests per Capita: 30

2010 Arrests Per Capita: 214

National Rank for Raw Arrests: 40

2010 Raw Arrests: 2,842

 
 
Prev Next

1. Connecticut

National Rank for Arrests per Capita: 23

2010 Arrests Per Capita: 247

National Rank for Raw Arrests: 25

2010 Raw Arrests: 8,815

 
 
Prev Next

Number One Overall

Washington D.C.

National Rank for Arrests per Capita: 1

2010 Arrests Per Capita: 846

National Rank for Raw Arrests: 34

2010 Raw Arrests: 5,115

Photo: Flickr/Torben Hansen

 
 

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