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UPDATE: County Reverses No-Naloxone Policy After Supply Restocked

School nurses learn to use naloxone
Michelle Faust/Side Effects

The Monroe County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department says it will continue to administer the overdose antidote Naloxone when responding to emergency calls after receiving an additional 100 doses from the county health department.

The change in policy comes after Sheriff Brad Swain announced earlier Tuesday officers would reserve the department’s remaining doses for emergency responders.

Swan said at the time he wanted to make sure his officers had naloxone on hand in case they came into contact with the extremely powerful drug fentanyl.

“As I was reading accounts of law enforcement officers just having a brush of fentanyl on their skin going into extreme distress, physical distress where they needed a dose of Narcan before being transported to emergency, I had a concern what our remaining stock was and if we had any available for our own officers if we should encounter some kind of drug that would give them that reaction,” Swain said.

Overdose Lifeline Founder Justin Phillips says her organization is also working to help the department restock. But she says anyone worried about a loved one with an opioid addiction can get the antidote at a pharmacy, which could be part of the solution to diminished supplies.

“Because if you’re at home with your loved one and they overdose you can administer a dose before EMS arrives,” Phillips says. “That’s one less dose EMS has to use.”

Swain says the organization offered to donate an additional kit for each officer. Overdose Lifeline hopes to have the kits delivered by Friday.

Monroe County officers only administer the nasal spray version of the overdose antidote. Other kits require a needle to be injected to deliver the treatment.

“The nasal type of naloxone is hard to get right now, even from the organizations that supply those to public safety,” Swain says.

While the injectable version of naloxone is cheaper, sometimes by $20 a dose, Swain says it’s not practical for officers to use. Phillips says she has yet to communicate with any law enforcement agency willing to use the injectable method. She also acknowledges that using needles requires safety precautions.

“The idea of using a needle and a syringe is, I don’t know if they would use the word intimidating, but it’s something they’re not used to doing,” Phillips says.