CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office has launched its own naloxone program, in partnership with the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, and has begun training some of its senior officers to use the potentially life-saving drug.
Patrol supervisors for the sheriff’s department participated in a training led by the ambulance authority Thursday morning on how to store and administer the drug.
Earlier this year, the West Virginia Legislature passed a bill to allow police, firefighters and friends and family members to administer naloxone to people overdosing on heroin or prescription pain pills. Previously, only paramedics, doctors and other medical professionals could legally administer the medication.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the bill into law in March, but many local and state law enforcement agencies, including the West Virginia State Police, declared that they had no plans to carry the drug, citing factors such as cost and training.
Kanawha County had the third-most heroin-related overdose deaths in 2014, with 17, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the United States…