Police officers are often first on the scene following a 9-1-1 call. With the continued increase in deaths from opioid overdoses, the U.S. Department of Justice recognized the need to provide law enforcement with the knowledge and the tools to reverse overdoses in the field. Opioids cause death by slowing, and eventually stopping, the person’s breathing. When administered, naloxone (marketed in the past under the tradename Narcan) restores respiration within two to five minutes, and may prevent brain injury and death.  Naloxone works on overdoses caused by opioids, which includes prescription painkillers and street drugs like heroin. Naloxone has no potential for abuse.

On October 21, 2015, public and private sector efforts were announced to address prescription drug abuse and heroin use, including the expansion of naloxone dispense programs and training on using naloxone kits. See the full list of federal, state, local, and private sector actions being taken.

Resources: 

COPS Office Letter on Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Date: 
Oct, 2014
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The former Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Ronald L. Davis, voices his support for law enforcement carrying naloxone

Five Things You Need to Know About Naloxone

Date: 
Oct, 2014
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This one-page document from the Police Foundation is intended to give agency's the knowledge it needs to save lives and to improve community relationships.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Remarks

Date: 
Mar, 2014
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In one of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's weekly video addresses, he calls the rise in heroin overdoses an urgent public health crisis and vows a mix of enforcement and treatment.