BLOG: Pennsylvania State Capitol Police Join Efforts to Combat Heroin Epidemic
By: Curt Topper, Secretary of General Services
December 02, 2015
Since Governor Wolf was inaugurated, his administration has been working hard to fight the addiction and overdose epidemic in our state.
The governor’s cabinet has worked to develop the ABC-MAP prescription drug monitoring program, created an interagency Heroin Task Force, pushed for the use of naloxone at schools across the Commonwealth, and stocked all Pennsylvania State Police cars with the naloxone drug.
In addition, in October, the governor announced a statewide standing order for naloxone, a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug.
Today, we are announcing the equipment of the Capitol Police Force with naloxone.
Pennsylvania’s Act 139, the “Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act,” granted first responders — including law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, or other organizations — the ability to administer a medication known as “naloxone,” a lifesaving opioid reversal medication, to individuals experiencing an opioid overdoses.
This fall, the Pennsylvania State Capitol Police Force entered into an agreement with the local Emergency Medical Services provider for permission to obtain and use a supply of naloxone, as well.
In November, all officers took the half-hour mandatory online training provided by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police to administer naloxone.
Beginning on November 16, Capitol Police officers began training to allow officers to carry and administer the EVZIO auto-injector unit of naloxone. The unit administers a dose of naloxone to reverse the effects of heroin and other opioids, especially in the event of an overdose. The training consisted of 45-minutes of classroom instruction, which included the use of the EVZIO trainer unit to simulate the administration of a dose of naloxone. All of the Capitol Police officers have completed the training thus far, and as new officers are brought on-board, they too will receive training to carry naloxone.
This is a significant enhancement to the capabilities of PA Capitol Police officers.
The PA Capitol Police officers are often called upon to assist local law enforcement agencies and are the first responders on scene. In a situation such as a drug overdose, the ability to administer naloxone in a timely manner can be the difference between life and death.
In 2014, there was one medical emergency the PA Capitol Police responded to one heroin overdose. In 2015, the PA Capitol Police responded to 21 medical emergencies involving drug overdoses. Of those 21 emergencies, 12 were the result of suspected heroin overdoses.
The local Harrisburg Police Department also just recently began training for its officers to use Naloxone in November 2015.
This initiative will allow our officers to continue to protect the well-being and safety of those who visit, work, and live in the areas of the PA Capitol Police jurisdiction and the surrounding areas. I am proud to announce this step by my department to continue the Wolf Administration’s fight against the heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania.
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