An Opportunity for Education and Patient Advocacy

By Ali McCorkle, LPC | DM&ADR

I wanted to share with everyone about a recent opportunity to provide training and education to our local police force. As you know, Naloxone is the opioid overdose “antidote,” that we commonly refer to as Narcan. Many of our police officers and first responders in Georgia already carry Naloxone while on duty. With a little research, I realized that this is not always the case. A neighboring town with a small police force was not equipped to administer Naloxone, nor had the means to purchase this for their officers. As we well know, law enforcement can occasionally pose a challenge when advocating for Medication Assisted Treatment. Inspired by the great work of the Georgia Overdose Prevention Program, I saw a great opportunity.

I first reached out to the Chief of Police. He said that often his officers arrive on the scene of an emergency before EMS arrives. In the past, they have had drug overdoses and were not able to help until EMS arrived. After researching potential options, I found the Kaleo Cares Program, through Kaleo Pharmaceuticals. Kaleo manufactures Evzio, which is an auto-injectable form of Naloxone. It currently retails for approximately $3,800 without insurance, however, they provide Product Donation Grants in certain circumstances. I applied for this grant on behalf of the police department and was granted enough products for each officer free of charge. The paperwork from start to finish took about 6-8 weeks.

I found the officers to be especially grateful, and excited about the possibility of being able to use the medication and potentially save a life. I took the opportunity to give a presentation on Medication Assisted Treatment, before providing the training on administration and safety of Evzio. The officers were incredibly receptive, and I was so excited to see all the questions they had. As we well know, much of the misunderstanding about MAT comes from lack of knowledge.

They asked great questions about driving safety, what services we offer, how patients get take homes, etc. In many cases, officers do not get the chance to see the patients that are thriving in treatment, but only the patients whose choices lead them to break the law. It was important to me that these officers also hear about the patients they don’t get the chance to see. I left feeling very positive and hopeful about working together in the future, and they were very grateful for the information.

As a Joint Commission accredited program, this type of advocacy is exactly what we can use towards our Community Education Plan, not to mention the wealth of education I was able to provide our local law enforcement officers. I would encourage any OTPG members who may live in a small town, to consider reaching out to their local police force. Perhaps they are in need of Naloxone themselves, and you can use this opportunity to educate them on your program and MAT in general. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions.