Grant Brings Overdose Rescue Training, Antidote Drug to Officers
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Seconds save lives when it comes to drug overdoses. Now Tennessee law enforcement officers will be supplied with and trained to administer an antidote to overdose victims, thanks to a partnership between the University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.
Naloxone is a drug that can be administered as a nasal spray or injection to reverse the deadly effects of opioid drug overdoses, which is primarily respiratory arrest. In 2014 more than 1,200 Tennesseans overdosed as a result of opioid addiction.
“Naloxone can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose, by neutralizing opioids in the system and can restore normal breathing in three to five minutes,” said Don Green, LEIC executive director. “It allows law enforcement officers to buy time for people suffering overdoses until emergency medical professionals can arrive. Naloxone can save lives.”
LEIC began training law enforcement officers on the use of Naloxone on Nov. 1. Up to 600 officers will receive the training this year, including how to apply to receive the drug from the manufacturer.
The Naloxone training program is funded by a $35,000 grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation. Additionally, the grant provides $250,000 to purchase Naloxone for Tennessee law enforcement agencies.
The Naloxone training and supply program is part of a larger effort by BlueCross to combat the widespread problem of opioid abuse in Tennessee. That effort includes a $1.3 million grant to expand statewide the successful Count It! Lock It! Drop It! program of the Coffee County Anti-drug Coalition.
“Opioid abuse is a complex issue that takes multiple efforts to address,” said Dawn Abel, BlueCross director of community relations and foundations. “We see this partnership with the Law Enforcement Innovation Center as another effective tool to fight the problem.”
About University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center®
The Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) is an agency of the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service. Formed in 1997, LEIC is a leading training and technical assistance provider for the law enforcement community across the nation. Over the past 15 years, more than 30,000 law enforcement officers, other criminal justice practitioners and public school personnel have completed training and educational programs.
About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc. ®
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc. was established in December, 2003 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation awards grants focused on high-impact initiatives across the state, which promote healthy lifestyle choices and help control health care costs for all Tennessee residents. Working with civic and economic partners, the foundation is dedicated to the support of research, innovative programs and creative approaches to improve the health and quality of life of Tennesseans for generations to come.