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Mental Health and Law Enforcement Strengthen Partnership to Save Lives

Narcan Nasal Spray

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) is partnering with the Oxford Police Department, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, University Police Department, and the 3rd Judicial District Drug Court to provide naloxone, a life-saving medication that blocks or reverses the effects of opioid overdoses.
The Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services within DMH is providing the naloxone through funding provided by the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant awarded as part of the 21st Century Cures Act passed by Congress in December 2016. This partnership with local law enforcement agencies is consistent with final recommendations made by the Governor’s Opioid and Heroin Study Task Force.
“In Mississippi, about one out of every 10 people misuses prescription drugs in some way,” said Michael Jordan, the State Opioid Treatment Authority with DMH. “The abuse of prescription drugs has led to a surge in opioid and heroin addiction, and this is an issue that is costing people their lives.”
Naloxone is a medication that can block or reverse the effects of opioids, particularly in an overdose situation. While there are no adverse effects to administering naloxone to someone in distress, it is important to note that its use is not a substitute for emergency medical care, which should be administered as soon as possible after a suspected overdose or use of naloxone. While naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose, its effects are limited and an overdose situation can still occur when the medication’s effects wear off after approximately 30 to 60 minutes.
Michael Jordan also noted that House Bill 996, passed in Mississippi’s 2017 legislative session, allows for the provision of standing orders for naloxone at pharmacies across the state, which allows any individual to request to purchase naloxone at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription.  Anyone interested in more information about the availability of naloxone should contact their local pharmacy.  The medication is sold under several brand names, most notably Narcan, which is the brand distributed by DMH to the Oxford Police Department, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, University Police Department, and the 3rd Judicial District Drug Court.
With the passage of House Bill 996, individuals cannot be held liable for their decision to administer or not administer Naloxone whether they are acting in a professional or personal capacity.  Naloxone was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in 1971 and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential drugs. 
“These partnerships to provide naloxone to communities throughout the state will help save lives,” said Diana Mikula, Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health. “Even with this medication, it is important to remember that this is no substitute for treatment. If you or someone else needs help, we urge you to reach out. There are people throughout the state who want to help you get on the road to recovery.”
For more information please contact Mississippi State Targeted Opioid Project at 601-398-4406.

Courtesy of Mississippi Department of Mental Health

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