Sheriff to equip deputies with anti-opioid spray
The Grant County Sheriff’s Office will soon issue to deputies the nasal anti-opioid spray naloxone to help reduce overdose-related deaths.
The sheriff’s office said in a recent press release that it will train deputies and then issue about 100 single-dose spray dispensers sold under the brand name Narcan. The doses will be used to help revive victims of opioid overdose.
Other law enforcement agencies in Grant County, including Moses Lake, Ephrata, Grand Coulee, Quincy, Mattawa, Royal City, Soap Lake and Warden will also be training their officers on the use of naloxone, GCSO said.
Opioids include heroin, morphine, fentanyl, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, meperidine and methadone. All of these drugs are linked to addiction, and in many cases, law enforcement officers are the first to arrive at the scene of an opioid overdose, GCSO said. An opioid overdose causes a person’s breathing to dangerously slow or stop.
“Not only can we help the victim of an opioid overdose, we can also help another officer or one of our K-9s which becomes exposed to an opioid,” said Sheriff Tom Jones in a press release. “We do see many drug crimes involving opioids, and we have responded to several deaths caused by opioid abuse. We hope to reduce opioid deaths, but we also realize that a lot of work needs to be done to try and keep opioids out of the illegal drug trade. That will require the teamwork of policymakers, law enforcement, public health agencies and citizens.”
The kits will be issued to deputies thanks to a grant from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services and managed by the University of Washington’s Center for Opioid Safety Education, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. A two-pack of the spray kits costs about $75, GCSO said.
According to the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a national naloxone access advocacy leader, as of December 2016 there were 1,214 U.S. law enforcement agencies carrying naloxone. The number rose rapidly last year.
Grant County not immune to opioid problems
Kyle Foreman, Grant County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, says the opioid abuse problem is local, statewide and nationwide. While he doesn’t have a number of local opioid-related deaths, he said that in 2016, there were 17 overdose-related deaths in Grant County from all types of substances, not just opioids.
Regardless of the number of opioid-related illnesses or deaths locally, “the national trend compels us to prepare,” Foreman said in an email. “We’ve had many heroin-related illnesses and drug crimes. Heroin is easy to get, easy to abuse and can quickly kill you.”
More opioid facts from Foreman:
• In 2015, Grant County’s Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team seized 529 grams of heroin.
• In 2016, that number skyrocketed to over 3,477 grams.
• Most of the heroin is smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.
By Post-Register Staff