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January 9, 2017

Public Health Partners with Law Enforcement Agencies to Prevent Opioid Overdoses

Officials from eight agencies to receive training on administering overdose reversal drug naloxone

Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County Public Health will provide training to law enforcement officials and first responders from several agencies on Jan. 10 on how to administer naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses and saves lives.

Knowing how to quickly help when someone is experiencing an opioid overdose can mean the difference between life and death, and readiness to intervene when seconds count is essential for first responders and the community-at-large.

Opioid overdoses contribute to the larger issue of drug overdoses, a leading cause of death in Boulder County and elsewhere. From 2000-2015 there were 10,552 drug overdose deaths among Colorado residents and 355 opioid overdose deaths in Boulder County. The number of overdoses in Colorado increased nearly every year within that period.

Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioids and can be injected during emergency situations into muscle tissue or administered as a nasal spray. In addition to providing training on how to administer this life-saving medication, Boulder County Public Health will equip local response agencies with more than 300 naloxone kits received from the Naloxone for Life Program, administered by the office of Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

"Making naloxone available to our law enforcement agencies will help save lives. Thanks to the Colorado Attorney General's office and to Boulder County Public Health for its leadership on this important public safety and public health issue,” said Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett.

“Opioid abuse and overdose is an issue that demands a strong, unified response from public health and law enforcement officials, who are often at the frontlines of battling opioid abuse in the communities they serve. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to provide police and firefighters with the tools they need to save lives,” said Boulder County Public Health Epidemiologist Jamie Feld. “This training session highlights the importance of using local partnerships to confront issues we all face as a community.”

Naloxone is available at several local pharmacies, and training on how to recognize the signs of an overdose and administer the medication is available to the general public through Boulder County Public Health’s Works Program.