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Local sheriff offices to begin distributing overdose prevention kits to at-risk citizens

Local sheriffs and Albany Med's Michael Dailey
WAMC.org
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Ashley Hupfl
Local law enforcement and Albany Med partners to distribute Naloxone

Sheriff’s deputies in 10 New York counties will now be allowed to leave behind overdose protection kits for at-risk groups in an effort to prevent deaths.

The kits contain Naloxone, brand name Narcan, which can reverse opioid overdoses. Each department will get 20 kits to start, but Albany Medical Center Chief of Prehospital and Operational Medicine Dr. Michael Dailey predicts that number will be expanded:

"I think law enforcement officers have a different opportunities than EMS, because law enforcement can be called to a scene of a domestic dispute, or, frankly, any other complaints, and they could recognize the signs of people that are using opioids or concerned for someone with opioid use disorder," Dailey said.

The move is an expansion of the “Leave Behind” program. Previously, only Emergency Medical Service members and their community partners could distribute the drug to patients, friends or family before leaving the scene of a non-fatal overdose.

According to New York’s annual opioid report, there were about 12,000 Narcan administrations reported by Emergency Medical Services agencies in 2019, about a fifth more than in 2018.

Sheriffs in Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties are participating.

Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett says he would like to see the program expanded statewide.

"Now we're going to be able to leave it at people's homes when we go there for an overdose. I can say down in Columbia County, we'll also be leaving resource information for the family members and the loved ones - and this is a win-win for everyone," Bartlett said.