Branson, Mo - (1/2/2018) On Dec. 18, representatives from CoxHealth and Skaggs Foundation presented an initial supply of naloxone to the Branson Police Department.
The supply was made possible by a generous donation from the CoxHealth pharmacy department in collaboration with the Stone and Taney Counties Substance Abuse Initiative (SAI). SAI is led by CoxHealth and funded by a Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant.
Naloxone, or commonly known by its name brand as Narcan, is a medication that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose.
Vice officers in the department received naloxone training in March of 2017, however, due to budget constraints had not be able to purchase the antidote. SAI Project Coordinator Marietta Hagan learned of the need and was able to facilitate the donation of the naloxone with the help of Kirsten Dougherty, Cox Medical Center Branson pharmacy manager.
While current city policy does not allow officers to administer the medication to the public, officers will be able to use it in case of an accidental exposure by an officer or K9.
“The Branson Police Department is very excited to receive this donation as our officers are increasingly encountering illicit opioid users,” says Branson Assistant Chief Eric Schmitt. “One of our biggest concerns has been the safety of our personnel and it is very reassuring to have ready access to this life saving medication for cases of accidental exposure or overdose.”
Schmitt explains that while emergency medical service (EMS) personnel have long carried the overdose medication, there are frequently times when it is unsafe for EMS to enter a scene. He says that when vice detectives serve a search warrant on a drug house, detectives can be quickly exposed to opioids, however, EMS cannot enter the scene until after it is secure.
“Having ready access to the overdose medication allows our officers to administer it if needed to their teammates and buy valuable time until EMS personnel can assist,” Schmitt said.
Currently, all of Branson Police Department’s vice detectives, K9 team members and evidence technicians have been trained and now issued naloxone. Schmitt said they plan to have all remaining officers receive training by the end of January so that all officers can be issued the medication.
The Stone and Taney Counties Substance Abuse Initiative is a concentrated effort aimed at reducing and preventing substance misuse.
“It’s truly an honor for CoxHealth and the Substance Abuse Initiative to be able to provide this initial dose to Branson Police Department,” says Hagan.
For more information about the Substance Abuse Initiative, visit SkaggsFoundation.org/substance-abuse-initiative or call 417-335-7333.
(Edited Media Release)