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Lewis County, Centralia, Chehalis Officers to Carry Opioid Antidote

The Chronicle - 8/22/2017

Aug. 22--In an effort to combat the nation's growing opioid epidemic locally, Lewis County law enforcement officers will soon receive training allowing them to carry a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Officers from the Centralia and Chehalis police departments and the Lewis County Sheriff's Office will soon be trained to administer Narcan nasal spray, which contains the drug naloxone.

The substance reverses the life-threatening effects of a drug overdose, according to a press release from Lewis County Public Health and Social Services.

"Officers often see overdose patients before emergency medical aid arrives or has even been summoned," according to the release. "With this training, they will be able to administer Narcan to those found in severe distress from an apparent opioid overdose. There are no ill effects if Narcan is administered and no opioids are present."

Narcan can also be used by officers who have been exposed to a drug such as fentanyl, which can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled.

The program is made possible by a $3,000 grant awarded to Lewis County Public Health and Social Services by the West Region EMS Trauma & Care Council in collaboration with the University of Washington'sAlcohol & Drug Abuse Institute.

The opioid epidemic was named a national emergency on Aug. 10 after a recommendation from the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis. Nationwide, 33,091 people died in 2015 from opioid overdoses, according to the release.

Lewis County has seen 42 deaths from opioid overdoses since 2011.

Opioids include prescription and illicit drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin and fentanyl.

For more information on opioid overdoses, go to www.StopOverdose.org.

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(c)2017 The Chronicle (Centralia, Wash.)

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