Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
Drug abuse and opioid overdose, in particular, is rampant throughout this country. The number of people dying from opioid overdoses rises each year. To help combat this crisis, the state of Mississippi passed HB 996 in July 2017 enabling practitioners to prescribe naloxone through standing orders. The law allows pharmacies to then dispense these life-saving devices to any person who would potentially be in a position to save the life of a person at risk of overdosing.
Tyson Drug Company, in Holly Springs, became the first pharmacy in the state to dispense naloxone through a standing order. The pharmacists at Tyson’s completed a naloxone training program and have since developed a training class to instruct others how to save a life with naloxone. Since the law’s passage in July, Tyson’s has spoken to administrators and parents at local schools, and business leaders at the Holly Springs Rotary Club to raise awareness of this crisis.
Additionally, HB 996 allows firefighters and law enforcement to administer naloxone after receiving proper training. Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers are trained to administer opioid reversal agents, such as naloxone, and stock them on ambulances. However, other first responders are usually not provided training in this discipline. Seeing the opportunity to make a difference in the community, the Holly Springs Fire Department and Marshall County Sheriff’s Department partnered with Tyson’s to receive naloxone training so they could begin carrying naloxone on their response vehicles.
The benefits of this partnership are already visible. On a recent weekend, the fire department responded to a call for a person who was unconscious and believed to have overdosed on an opioid. Upon arriving at the scene the person was not breathing. The first responder administered naloxone, and within a matter of minutes, the person regained consciousness and began breathing again.
This is just one instance where local first responders are making a difference in their community. This could not have happened without all parties’ willingness to work together for the common good of the Holly Springs community. Through the continued success of this partnership, our hope is for other pharmacies in Mississippi to be encouraged to work together with their first responders to provide similar services in their communities.
Austin V. Crocker,
and Bob Lomenick