Questions answered about the Heroin epidemic that were raised at the meeting held on June 15:
1. Should law enforcement carry Naloxone? Who on the panel has had naloxone training and is currently carrying on their person or car ?
Answer provided by panelist, Detective Phil Ridgell:
The Naloxone debate is complex for a variety of reasons. The first being among law enforcement is administering a drug to a person when we are not medically trained to do so. This is different than a officer administering an AED to a person in cardiac arrest because the machine essentially analyzes and tells you specifically what to do. An AED is not an invasive form of saving someone’s life. Commonly the advocates of Naloxone say that because officers carry AED’s, that it is no different than carrying Naloxone. It’s actually different on a couple different levels. The first difference is cost. Right now Naloxone is set at a market price, therefore there is no way to properly budget the cost to carry the drug in every cruiser. Whereas with AED’s, their initial cost is expensive but they will last for years to come. Our department just replaced our AED’s this year after 10 years. With AED’s the only other cost aside from purchasing them is replacing the AED pads after every use, these pads typically cost about $12. As it relates to Naloxone cost, some of the safest ways to administer the drug can cost upwards to $70 a dose. There are less expensive forms, but these forms would require officers to withdraw the drug from a vial and administer intravenously – something that most officers are not comfortable with. The more expensive forms which can be administered much easier could cost the taxpayers 10’s if not 100’s of thousands of dollars a year.
If you are asking me personally, I do not think that we should have Naloxone in our cruisers. There are too many unknown variables which do not make the officer feel protected. Although there is a good faith law to those who administer Naloxone, there is a loop hole to every law, so if an addict was not saved by law enforcement there is a fear of civil litigation against that officer.
Pretty much everyone on the panel who serves in the medical field has had Naloxone training. Our department has not been formally trained, but I have through various meetings I’ve attended. The training for the public is brief and takes no longer than one (1) hour I’m told.
To summarize my answer: I do not believe you will see Naloxone in the majority of police cruisers primarily because the county’s and cities will not be able to afford it. The cheapest method of administering the drug is kept on life squads and in hospitals, and as I said earlier that requires a withdrawal from the vial and administering the drug intravenously. The nasal mist and Epi-Pen style doses are just too costly.
2. If what Detective Ridgell says about going to treatment from jail is true or does come into effect, can we get a petition going for more rehab facilities in our area and sober living in Campbell county?
There are only two ways you are going to see more beds in Northern Kentucky and that will be through private or public funding. If a businessman wanted to startup a treatment facility that wasn’t directly associated with one of the major hospitals, I do not believe that he would be turned down. There are a lot of risks associated with private treatment facility startup and they would be more expensive.
On the other hand there is public funding to create more beds in the Northern Kentucky area but that funding is sparse. Senator Schroder spoke about this and shared his frustration with how little funding Northern Kentucky gets from Frankfort as it relates to treatment. As we are coming into a gubernatorial election cycle, I encourage you to seek answers from the candidates on how Northern Kentucky can be better represented through funding for treatment facilities.
Lastly, the whole reason for the church having us a couple weeks ago was to support faith based treatment facilities. If your church is serious about this endeavor then have them explain the cost to the congregation. Through tithing the congregation can raise money to create a faith based treatment facility to help support the local communities with addiction. To be more specific this type of funding would fall under the private funding.
Healing From Heroin – Special Evening – June 15
Outpost Women’s Ministries of Northern KY presents a special evening for both men and women on Monday, June 15, at 7:00 PM to address the horrors of heroin in Northern KY and Cincinnati.
Come to Highland Hills Church, located at 638 Highland Avenue, Fort Thomas, KY to hear a testimony given by a former addict, and learn from a panel of experts of what our cities have been facing, and their plans to combat the heroin epidemic.
Check out the video for more information:
God Bless You All!