Nation’s Sheriffs Anti-Overdose “Rescue Drug” Pilot Project
Working In Wilmington, NC
Funding made possible with a grant from Purdue Pharma
(ALEXANDRIA, VA) – With the number of opiate overdoses skyrocketing across the country and the state over the past few years, Wilmington officers are now more prepared to save lives by rapidly administering an anti-overdose rescue drug thanks to a pilot program and grant from Purdue Pharma L.P. and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA).
Purdue Pharma has provided the NSA with a $350,000 grant to launch the pilot program.
NSA CEO and Executive Director Jonathan Thompson said “The battle against the heroin and opiate epidemic has claimed far too many casualties; our brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. With this project, Wilmington officers are equipped to fight back.”
In 2014, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that drug overdose was the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S., with more than 47,000 fatal overdoses. Of those, almost 19,000 were caused by prescription pain relievers, including illicitly manufactured Fentanyl, and more than 10,000 were related to heroin. Forty-four people a day are dying from opiate overdoses, according to the CDC.
Since starting the program last year, Wilmington officers have already saved 59 lives in 64 attempts and the 2nd highest recovery rate in the state of North Carolina.
“Our officers encounter opiate overdoses far too often, but now they’re able to do something about it thanks to the NSA and Purdue Pharma,” Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said. “Recently, we have seen a dramatic up-swing in the number of overdose situations, many believed to result from heroin and opiate use growing throughout the U.S., including our city.”
Wilmington officers are provided a two-dose kit of naloxone that can be administered through intranasal means.
“The use of naloxone by our officers is not to replace emergency medical treatment, but to serve as a stop-gap measure before EMS can arrive,” Evangelous said. “This furthers illustrates our agency’s commitment to providing the best tools necessary to protect life and property in our community.”
North Carolina had an increase of 14.5 percent in opioid drug-related deaths from 2014 to 2015 – for a total of 1567 deaths in 2014, according to the CDC.