Sunday, September 15, 2013

Law Enforcement Views Opioid Overdose Training Favorably

As first responders, law enforcement officers are one of the most common groups of people to witness an opioid overdose. However, no one has ever asked the officers how they would view a training program to equip them to handle this type of situation - until now. A study out of Drug and Alcohol Dependence  indicates that many officers would welcome drug overdose prevention training and, in particular, naloxone/Narcan administration. It seems this study is welcome news to the growing chorus of overdose prevention advocates. As the body of evidence showing these efforts to be effective continues to grow, the importance of involving law enforcement in the discussion is obvious.

The abstract via Science Direct:

Abstract

Background

Law enforcement is often the first to respond to medical emergencies in the community, including overdose. Due to the nature of their job, officers have also witnessed first-hand the changing demographic of drug users and devastating effects on their community associated with the epidemic of nonmedical prescription opioid use in the United States. Despite this seminal role, little data exist on law enforcement attitudes toward overdose prevention and response.

Methods

We conducted key informant interviews as part of a 12-week Rapid Assessment and Response (RAR) process that aimed to better understand and prevent nonmedical prescription opioid use and overdose deaths in locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island experiencing overdose “outbreaks.” Interviews with 13 law enforcement officials across three study sites were analyzed to uncover themes on overdose prevention and naloxone.

Results

Findings indicated support for law enforcement involvement in overdose prevention. Hesitancy around naloxone administration by laypersons was evident. Interview themes highlighted officers’ feelings of futility and frustration with their current overdose response options, the lack of accessible local drug treatment, the cycle of addiction, and the pervasiveness of easily accessible prescription opioid medications in their communities. Overdose prevention and response, which for some officers included law enforcement-administered naloxone, were viewed as components of community policing and good police-community relations.

Conclusion

Emerging trends, such as existing law enforcement medical interventions and Good Samaritan Laws, suggest the need for broader law enforcement engagement around this pressing public health crisis, even in suburban and small town locations, to promote public safety.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know about the opioid overdose earlier. Thanks for sharing the article. I think most of the crimes in Asia are happening because of drugs. If it is strictly wiped out of the world then about 50% of the crimes will be put to halt.

    Regards,
    Arnold Brame

    ReplyDelete