Pasadena Police Will Soon Be Equipped to Handle Opioid Overdose Scenarios

Published : Tuesday, May 28, 2019 | 7:07 PM

Pictured above are standard elements commonly found in opiod-overdose emergency rescue kits. Courtesy photo

South Pasadena police rescued a man Saturday night who had overdosed on oxycodone by administering Naloxone HCI (Narcan) nasal spray, raising the question of how the Pasadena Police Department handles such incidents.

“We are finalizing a policy and will be issuing a Naloxone-related medication in the near future to our officers,” said Pasadena Police Department spokesman Commander Jason Clawson

South Pasadena officers arrived on the scene in the 1100 block of Indian Street about two minutes after the call was dispatched and found the 21-year-old victim down, unresponsive, not breathing and without an apparent pulse.

The officers immediately administered one dose of Narcan nasal spray and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The successful intervention was the first since the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency approved implementation of the program, according to a City News Service report.

The problem of oxycodone abuse is not prevalent on a day-to-day basis for Pasadena police, Clawson explained. The Department, he said, is not seeing a significant number of life-threatening opioid overdoses, with only “a couple of instances” so far this year.

“Cell phones have all but eliminated the open-air drug markets and people are selling drugs behind closed doors or filling orders by vehicle deliveries,” said Clawson. “Methamphetamine possession is much more prevalent in the local drug community.”

Nonetheless, said Clawson, businesses should take extra precautions with items that can be abused in the illicit drug-using community.

Pharmacies, he recommended, should lock their opioid-based medications at night in safes to thwart would-be thieves.

“Prevention is the key to any future crisis,” said Clawson.

According to American Addictions Center, changes in government policy and industry marketing have led to an explosion in the prescription of a narcotic that was recommended sparingly in the past.

The major sources of black market oxycodone are pharmacy break-ins, diversion by unethical doctors (pill mills), and patients who “doctor shop” until they find a physician who’ll prescribe the painkillers they want.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, 42,249 cases, or 66 percent of all reported overdoses in 2016, were oxycodone related.

And those numbers, the CDC said, “continue to rise each year across all ethnicities, races, and regions, and actually increased 30 percent between July 2016 and Sept. 2017.”

In October of 2018, President Donald Trump signed opioid legislation aimed at fomenting research into non-addictive pain management drugs. The measure also expanded access to treatment for substance abuse disorders for Medicaid patients.







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