BATAVIA, Ohio – The Clermont County Sheriff’s Office has begun to respond to emergency overdose calls in the county by administering Naloxone, also known as Narcan, a medication that can prevent deaths in these cases, said Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg.
Earlier this month, Clermont Public Health staff trained sheriff’s deputies to properly administer the drug. The Clermont Sheriff’s Office is one of the first law enforcement agencies in Southwest Ohio to carry Naloxone.
In March 2014, Ohio House Bill 170 was signed into law allowing police officers to carry and administer nasal Naloxone. Naloxone reverses the effects of opioids on the brain and can limit or stop an overdose when given to a person overdosing on heroin or a prescription opioid such as Oxycontin. Experts say it has no adverse effects, and has saved many individuals from overdose deaths.
Law enforcement is often the first to arrive at an emergency call. Having the Naloxone kits on hand will allow a faster response than waiting for EMS, said Rodenberg. “We believe that this is a worthwhile program and are proud to be one of the first law enforcement agencies in the TriState to have this at our disposal,” he added.
Said Clermont County Chief Deputy Steve Leahy: “In the end, the people who are dying are someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, or parent. I think as law enforcement, we owe it to the community to use every available resource to beat this epidemic.”
Clermont County has one of the highest overdose rates in the State of Ohio. In 2013, there were 56 overdose deaths in the county, with 95% related to opiates, said Karen Scherra, Executive Director of the Clermont Mental Health and Recovery Board (MHRB), which is funding the Naloxone kits through a $42,250 grant it was awarded from Interact for Health.
MHRB’s work with the Sheriff’s Office to provide Naloxone is one step in the development of “Project DAWN” (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) in Clermont County, she added. Project Dawn, a partnership among the MHRB, the Clermont Recovery Center, and Clermont County Public Health, will also allow Narcan to be distributed to Clermont County residents once they are properly trained in administering the drug.
“Project DAWN allows us to tackle this issue on many fronts,” said Scherra. “We are working to provide Naloxone kits to families and to clients of the Clermont Recovery Center, and to other law enforcement agencies for distribution.
For more information, contact Lee Ann Watson at MHRB 513-732-5406.