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Deputies save lives with opioid antidote

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Sheriff Bill Overton (left) and Deputy Timmy Burton watch as Deputy Megan Patterson demonstrates how naloxone kits are used.

In the nine months since Franklin County deputies began carrying an antidote to opioid overdoses, they've administered the drug to 10 people.

The National Sheriff's Association issued a report this month about the progress sheriff's offices have made since partnering with Purdue Pharma to arm deputies with naloxone.

The sheriff's association has trained more than 600 deputies and officers with a dozen agencies to administer naloxone. Three agencies, including Franklin County, are in Virginia.

Here's what Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton had to say about one incident in which a deputy administered naloxone:

“Within just a couple minutes, the individual was more coherent and coming back, breathing started to increase, and was transported to the hospital for further observation. [This] drug worked the way it’s supposed to. The victim was found by his girlfriend when she arrived at his house, and he was showing signs of possible overdose (blue color in the face, snoring sound, rapid heartbeat, unresponsive with eyes open). Sternum rubs were performed and he remained unresponsive. Sgt. Smith then began putting together the naloxone Rescue Kit to administer to the victim. At this point, Captain Jones arrived and agreed naloxone needed to be administered. Sgt. Smith gave the antidote to the paramedic to administer the solution into the nasal passage. Within 5 minutes of application of naloxone, the victim started to talk to squad members and he was transported by rescue for further medical assistance. Had EMS been tied up on another call and not been able to arrive as quickly as they were, Sgt. Smith would have been unable to as greatly assist in saving this man’s life without the access to naloxone. We are thankful to have this tool on our belt.”

About two years ago, a state law took effect reducing barriers to law enforcement use of naloxone.

Naloxone, commonly known by its brand name Narcan, rapidly restores an overdose victim to consciousness and normal breathing. If administered to someone who isn’t overdosing on an opioid, it has no ill effects.

As of May 3, the 12 agencies have administered naloxone an estimated 121 times.

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• Franklin County, Virginia: 10

• Loudoun County, Virginia: 10

• Frederick County, Virginia: 9

• Daviess County, Kentucky: 4

• Jefferson County, Kentucky: 2

• Wood County, Ohio: 3

• St. Lucie County, Florida: 7

• Wilmington City, North Carolina: 63

• Greenville County, South Carolina: 14

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