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Posted on December 25, 2017 at 7:30 PM by Craig Johnson
“What’s New in County 22?”
Recently at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, we have been working on taking a proactive approach to the Opioid Epidemic that is going on throughout the nation. You may have heard about the dramatic rise in the misuse of opioid prescription pain relievers and opioid overdose deaths. We have not seen much of it around here, but we are hearing it is knocking on our door. Many different types of drugs are called opioids. Most of them are pain relievers; however, heroin is also called an opioid. Many people misusing prescription pain relievers like OxyContin, Oxycodone, etc. get addicted to these drugs, and the consequences are sometimes fatal. Opioids can slow down a person’s breathing; and overdose on prescription opioids can completely stop a person’s breathing.
The Clayton County Law Enforcement Association recently held a training for Clayton County Law Enforcement Officers to use Nasal Narcan in an emergency. Nasal Narcan blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing and loss of consciousness. Narcan is sprayed into the nose while the patient is lying on the ground. I am currently adapting a policy and procedure for our officers to use Narcan here at the sheriff’s office.
The State of Iowa was just allocated 2.7 million dollars in the fight against Opioid Abuse. Of that money, The Iowa Department of Public Health and Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration sent $40,000 dollars to the Northeast Iowa Behavior Health Center in Decorah, Iowa. The Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health Center represents Allamakee, Clayton, Winneshiek, Fayette and Howard counties. Currently Clayton County Supervisor Ron McCartney and I serve as Board Members. This money is being used to train officers in the area with Narcan, Opioid related education, and the purchase of Narcan, which costs $75 to $160 dollars per dose.
We are also in discussion with the other Board of Supervisors on making a resolution, and on behalf of the ISAC (Iowa State Association of Counties) to support litigation by a law firm Crueger Dickinson and Simmons Hanly Conroy, to enjoin litigation to hold certain Pharmaceutical firms responsible for damages to the public in misrepresenting the safety of Opioids. This is a no cost to the county on a contingent fee basis. The firms will cover all costs and no out of pocket expense to Clayton County. The ISAC Board believes it is important for counties in Iowa to join counties in other states to form a unified front on this litigation.
And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by to see me.
Thanks and be safe,
Sheriff Mike Tschirgi