Drug Overdose Rising In Columbus; Police Carry More Antidotes As Naloxone Pilot Program Sees Expansion
In an attempt to save lives and decrease the number of drug overdose cases, the Columbus police is expanding its naloxone pilot program. This means authorities will be carrying more antidotes in order to immediately have it when the situation calls for it.
Police at the Ohio capital said the antidote naloxone helped revived many who overdosed during the first phase of the program, WHIO reported. The program initially ran for six months and Columbus police commander Mark Gardner said naloxone was used 58 times during that period. Some people were given multiple shots and almost all of them survived except for one recipient.
The commander continued to reveal the pilot program instructed 125 officers to carry the antidote. The participation of the officers, however, is only voluntary.
The president of the local police union, Jason Pappas, said some officers opt out of the program as they do not want to become medical care providers. They said their job as police already entails saving lives.
The Columbus Dispatch also reported most of the officers who took part in the pilot program were from the Hilltop and South Side. One of the officers from Hilltop was able to administer doses to 11 people.
Dr. David Keseg, the medical director for Columbus Division of Fire, commended the enthusiasm of the officers who were part of the program. Keseg, who also provided medical advice for the initiative, said the officers were able to see they were really saving lives.
Although the antidote was administered by the officers, medical attention was still given to those who received the doses. Most of the people treated in the pilot program were women, Caucasian, or around age 35.
The cost for training the officers on how to administer the antidote is at $95. The drug also has a shelf life of only 18 months. In the expansion of the program, if 1,850 officers will be trained and equipped with the antidote, the cost would be at $177,000.