The use of Naloxone makes a critical difference in the chance of survival for an individual who has overdosed on heroin or prescription medications. Community corrections officers from the Delaware Department of Correction are now equipped with this overdose-reversal medication and the skills needed to treat victims of an opioid overdose.
Between Feb. 14 and March 7, probation and parole officers and Level IV correctional officers received Naloxone training by instructors from the Kent County Department of Public Safety Division of EMS. They were educated on how to recognize symptoms and administer the drug into the nasal passages of a patient when an overdose is suspected. Each officer received Naloxone certification and was issued the medicine upon completion of the program.
“Deployment of Naloxone kits in conjunction with EMS response has proven instrumental in saving the lives of those suffering from heroin or other opioid overdoses, and increases the level of service that our Bureau of Community Corrections continues to provide to our state,” said Community Corrections Bureau Chief Jim Elder.
In 2017, Naloxone was administered by first responders 2,714 times to 1,906 individuals. Both figures increased more than 16 percent from 2016 numbers.
The Division of Public Health recently reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 264 people died from overdoses in Delaware after an intensive state data review, an increase from the 229 people who died in 2015.
“In the midst of the opioid crisis we are experiencing in Delaware and across the country, it is crucial that Naloxone is as widely available as possible,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health in the Department of Health and Social Services. “Community Corrections officers are now in a position to provide immediate help to clients they serve in times of crisis. Reviving our fellow Delawareans who have overdosed gives them a second chance at life and a critical opportunity to be connected to treatment services. We are grateful to the Department of Correction for expanding access to naloxone in our state.”
For information and resources on addiction prevention, treatment and recovery in Delaware, go to www.HelpIsHereDE.com.