Albemarle implementing training programs, expanded access to naloxone
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Albemarle County officials are looking to address an increase in the number of opioid overdose incidents and the associated emergency calls.
According to a release, the county’s Department of Public Safety and Albemarle County Public Schools are implementing comprehensive training programs and expanded staff access to naloxone, an opioid overdose treatment.
Earlier this year, officers with the Albemarle County Police Department started to carry two pre-filled nasal spray doses of the drug, better known as Narcan, in their patrol car response kits.
The release says that within 24 hours of implementing this program, there were two separate incidents in which officers successfully used naloxone nasal spray to counteract the effect of overdoses and prevent two deaths.
"Much like the success we have experienced with officers trained in CPR and the use of AED equipment, this training will save lives," said ACPD Captain Darrell Byers. “Our department tailors our officers’ training and certifications to meet the needs of the community we serve.”
Additionally, Albemarle County Department of Fire Rescue personnel will be expanding its response to opioid-related emergencies.
ACFR personnel have been equipped with naloxone doses as emergency medical technicians, and now they will include “Leave Behind” naloxone kits and train all field personnel in their use.
This “Leave Behind” program will train community members who have called 911 for someone experiencing a substance use crisis so that they can provide doses of naloxone in the future if needed.
"Addressing the opioid epidemic requires a multi-faceted approach, and our first responders play a vital role in bridging the gap between emergency response and access to ongoing support, resources, and treatment,” said Emily Pelliccia, ACFR Deputy Chief of Community Risk & Resilience. “Expanding the current ACFR response model to include “Leave Behind” naloxone and overdose follow-up visits will save lives during an immediate crisis and exemplifies our commitment to providing more effective and comprehensive service to our community. This compassionate and proactive approach extends a lifeline to those in need and fosters a safer and healthier community for all.”
The release says the ACFR Community Rish and Resilience Division is conducting data analysis of emergency calls for service in order to identify hot spots in the community with apparent higher occurrences of overdoses so that outreach and training efforts can be targeted to those areas.
Outreach efforts include engaging with area libraries, hotels and businesses within a hot spot or higher-risk area to provide better access to naloxone and offer training to staff.
ACPS has recently trained all of its school nurses in how to administer naloxone, and as of April 28, naloxone kits are available in every school clinic.
The division has now teamed up with ACFR to expand training to other school employees.