United States Attorney General Eric Holder is urging federal law enforcement agencies to “identify, train and equip personnel who may interact with a victim of a heroin overdose” to carry naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. In a memorandum, Holder also requests that Congress protect enforcement tools, specifically Immediate Suspension Orders, a critical component of Department of Justice efforts to shut down rogue drug sellers and distributors.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, resulting in over 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001, indicates a Department of Justice press release. “The shocking increase in overdose deaths illustrates that addiction to heroin and other opioids, including some prescription painkillers, represents nothing less than a public health crisis,” states Holder. “I am confident that expanding the availability of naloxone has the potential to save the lives, families, and futures of countless people across the nation.” In March 2014, Holder urged local law enforcement agencies to consider allowing their officers to carry naloxone in order to save lives. Additional information about state laws pertaining to naloxone access is available in the June/July issue of the NABP Newsletter (PDF, pages 137-138).