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OKC Police Department carries opioid antidote Naloxone

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OKLAHOMA CITY- The Oklahoma City Police Department recently received 800 naloxone kits, to replace the previous kits which had been set to expire, according to OKCPD Public Information Officer Robert Matthews. Naloxone is the overdose-reversing medication used to block the effects of opioids, whether prescription opioid painkillers or heroin.

The use of naloxone has skyrocketed among law enforcement and health professionals throughout the country in response to rapidly spreading overdose epidemic.  The price of the drug has also ticked up, along with several specialized injectors of the medication.

The naloxone kits, which have a shelf-life of three years, were provided to Oklahoma City police officers by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service at no cost to the department and were distributed to all divisions and units. 

Thirty-five lives have been saved by the OKCPD with the help of naloxone since 2014, but the department hasn’t seen a noticeable increase in its use at this time.

While naloxone is effective in reversing overdose symptoms in users of prescription painkillers and heroin, it has limited effectiveness in overdoses involving the powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl.  Fifty times more powerful than heroin, overdose deaths from fentanyl are skyrocketing, as black market heroin increasingly contains the deadly compound.  Fentanyl reaches the United States through the mail system, originating from China and Hong Kong.  Catching fentanyl before is spreads throughout the country requires sifting through the millions of packages that arrive in the United States on a daily basis.  It also means that much of the drug slips past law enforcement. These synthetic opioids such as fentanyl killed 20,000 US citizens in 2016, doubling the total of 2015. 

The nationwide overdose epidemic has seen at least 60,000 deaths in 2016, and 2017 is on pace to surpass that number in many areas of the country.  Experts believe that, if drastic action isn’t taken soon, 500,000 Americans could die from a drug-related overdose over the next decade.

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Shane Smith is an accountant and freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in economics from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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