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Press Release

Gulf Coast HIDTA Provides Friday Training on Opioid Overdose and Reversal

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM – The Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area is providing training Friday for first responders and law enforcement and military personnel on opioid overdose treatment and reversal options, including use of the drug, naloxone, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Jefferson State Community College Police Chief Mark Bailey.

The training will be held in the Health and Science Building on Jeff State’s Shelby County Campus, at 4600 Valleydale Road. William T. Robinson, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health, will lead the training.

The training is free and will be offered in two classes, one from 9 a.m. to noon, and a second from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees may register at the door.

Deaths caused by opioid-related overdoses have quadrupled since the turn of the century, and more than half of the deaths are caused by prescription opioid painkillers, according to the HIDTA task force. Fortunately, opportunities for overdose reversal have expanded in terms of both policy and treatment technology.

In Alabama, the state Legislature passed a law in 2015 that allows police officers and people with addiction, as well as their family members and friends, to carry the drug naloxone, also known as Narcan, and administer it to users who have overdosed on opioids. Naloxone, given timely, can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and restart the victim’s breathing.

Naloxone is now available, without a prescription, at many Walgreen’s Pharmacies in Alabama and several independent pharmacies in Jefferson County. Naloxone is also available through the Jefferson County Department of Health Central Health Center for those who otherwise have difficulty obtaining it. State Health Officer Dr. Tom Miller has issued standing orders on the Alabama Department of Public Health website, enabling any willing pharmacy in Alabama to sell naloxone without a prescription.

Friday’s training will include a section focused on current federal, state and local policies surrounding the use and availability of naloxone. Attention will be given to “Good Samaritan Laws,” which provide protections for law enforcement personnel and first responders who administer naloxone.

The training also will address the epidemiology of drug use and overdose, the psychopharmacology and mechanisms of drug action on the body and the nervous system, and signs and symptoms of potential overdose, as well as effective and ineffective overdose treatment.

Updated January 13, 2017