Dept of Justice announces anti-heroin drug expansion

 

DOVER — The Delaware Department of Justice announced Thursday the state plans to purchase about 450 kits of naloxone, a drug that can combat the effects of heroin and reverse overdoses.

The kits, which will be carried by law enforcement, cost about $50,000 in total. The funding comes from the Special Law Enforcement Assistance Fund, which receives money from possessions and cash seized by Delaware police from someone accused of a crime.

The General Assembly passed legislation allowing police to carry naloxone in 2014. Police officers in six departments — New Castle County, Elsmere, Newark, Middletown, Smyrna and Ocean View — have saved lives using naloxone, according to the Department of Justice.

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Matthew Denn

“When releasing my plan to address substance use disorders last summer, I specifically encouraged our state’s law enforcement community to expand the number of officers who carry naloxone, but unfortunately, the cost of the medication made it prohibitive,” Attorney General Matt Denn said in a statement. “I’m very pleased that the SLEAF application, drafted by Deputy Attorney General Mike Undorf from our Fraud & Consumer Protection Division, received all of the necessary approvals and will soon put this lifesaving tool in the hands of our officers.”

The SLEAF Committee, which is composed by police from around the state, recommended the purchase.

The Division of Public Health will buy and distribute the kits over the next two to three months.

“Delaware is in the middle of an opioid addiction epidemic like much of the nation,” DPH Director Karyl Rattay said in a statement. “Too many people are dying. Naloxone is a proven method for reversing drug overdoses and expanding access in the community can save lives.”

Expansion of naloxone kits was one part of a plan announced by Mr. Denn in August to reduce drug-related deaths. Other components included strengthening regulations governing when opiates can be prescribed and creating a commission to review overdose deaths.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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