Saline County first responders receive overdose kits
With the help of grant funding, the Benton Police Department and the Saline County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Bryant Fire Department, recently received Naloxone kits to help a person during an opioid overdose.
The kits includes two doses of Narcan, a biohazard face mask and other first aid items, according to Lt. Joe Traylor, spokesperson for the Saline County Sheriff’s Office.
Naloxone is used in opioid overdoses to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally, according to the Harm Reduction Coalition.
Through a grant from the University of Arkansas System Criminal Justice Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Benton officers, SCSO deputies and jail staff, along with Bryant firefighters will receive kits.
“We cannot overstate the importance of this Narcan partnership in Saline County. Having the overdose kits in the hands of first responder saves valuable minutes in a crisis and has the potential to save countless lives,” said Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright. “We have already seen about a half dozen lives saved by our office alone in the past year. Thanks to the grant we have been given, we can continue to have that meaningful impact on our community.”
After recently completing training on how to use Naxolone, Bryant firefighters began receiving kits this week. Wednesday, within two hours the firefighters used the medication during two incidents.
“We’re seeing more and more problems with opioids,” said Bryant Fire Chief J.P. Jordan. “We were able to make a difference having the right medication.”
Being the first time the Bryant firefighters have received kits, Jordan said the firefighters were surprised by how easy, effective and how quickly the medication worked.
Each year in Saline County, there are 92.7 opioid prescriptions issued per 100 residents and 110,612 opioid prescriptions are written during a 12-month period.
Saline County also ranks as a top-risk county in the state for youth, drug overdose and drug poisoning.
The Benton Police Department recently received 62 Naloxone kits to help a person during an opioid overdose. From left, pictured with the kits are Assistant Chief Jeff Besancon, Capt. Patrick Baker, State Drug Director and former Benton Chief of Police Kirk Lane, Chief Scotty Hodges, Lt. Lisa Stuart and Sgt. Doug Speer.
State Drug Director and former Benton Chief of Police Kirk Lane and Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright display the kits the SCSO received.