Attorney General of LA Secures Up to 60,000 Doses of Naloxone for LA First Responders

Putting naloxone, a lifesaving opiate overdose reversal medication, into the hands of the first responders

Vial of Naloxone drug which is used for opiate drug overdose

Putting naloxone, a lifesaving opiate overdose reversal medication, into the hands of the first responders that are likely to arrive on the scene of an opiate overdose and intervene immediately is an essential component of a comprehensive plan to address high rates of opiate overdose death in Louisiana. It is Attorney General Jeff Landry’s goal to make sure that every police vehicle, fire truck, and ambulance be equipped with the medication. In an effort to make it more affordable for the state, Attorney General Landry has negotiated a deal with Pfizer, the manufacturer of the drug.

As a part of a million-dollar legal settlement with the company, Landry has forged an agreement that will provide Louisiana with up to 60,000 doses of naloxone. Rather than be delivered all at once and risk the expiration of some portion of the product before use, the state will have the option of turning in vouchers for doses of the drug and getting them on an as-needed basis.

This arrangement will certainly save lives in Louisiana. If provided by a first responder, it can also mean that the people who need the medication will also be able to connect with treatment services for help stopping drug use so they can avoid another accidental overdose.

Louisiana in Trouble

Louisiana has not been left out of the opiate addiction epidemic that has swept the nation. It is estimated that about half of the 120 people who lose their lives to addiction in the United States every day on average do so after using opiate drugs. Drug overdoses now cause more deaths than car accidents in the US for people between the ages of 25 and 64, making overdose the leading cause of accidental or unintentional death, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

In Louisiana, specifically, the statistics are grim:

  • Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 12.4 percent increase in deaths due to drug overdose in Louisiana.
  • Since 1999, the number of lives lost to drug overdose has tripled in the state.
  • Louisiana is among the top 10 states in the country for loss of life due to drug overdose.
  • There are about 5 million active prescriptions for opiate drugs in Louisiana – more than there are residents.

Given the dire nature of the situation, getting naloxone into the hands of first responders is a step in the right direction for Louisiana families.

Taking It a Step Further

For families who are watching someone struggle with opiate addiction, the hope is that not one of those doses of naloxone will be needed by their loved one. It is a scary thought to consider the risks of overdose or to recognize that every day that active drug use continues, death is a risk. It is no more pleasant to think about the other problems associated with ongoing use of opiate drugs, including:

  • Infection at the injection site, if needles are used
  • Heart and/or blood infections
  • Mental health and personality changes
  • Arrest and legal problems
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Employment and financial struggle

There is no shortage of ways for opiate use and abuse to devastate a person’s life and the lives of their family members. In fact, because the damage of addiction and the many behaviors associated with the disorder is so widespread, it is recommended that both the individual and their loved ones undergo treatment to begin the healing process and grow together in recovery.

Rather than wait for the crisis of overdose, families are encouraged to talk to their loved one, who is living with addiction, about treatment as soon as possible. There are a number of outpatient treatment program options that offer intensive and comprehensive care, allowing the individual to continue to work on relationships and dynamics at home while also making progress in recovery. Family members, too, can embark on their own therapeutic treatment, learning how to be supportive of their loved one while also creating and maintaining positive boundaries that will help all to build a new and positive life characterized by healthy relationships.

What does your family need to avoid the tragedy of overdose and start life anew without drugs and alcohol?

Since joining the Townsend content team, Shlomo has become a thought leader in the addiction field. He is a Seinfeld junkie, a recovering Twitter fanatic, and a sports expert. He enjoys milk shakes and beautiful views from rooftops.