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Rio Arriba Looks To Get Naloxone To Law Enforcement

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Rio Arriba County’s Health and Human Services Department is helping law enforcement there stock the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.

Rio Arriba County has the highest rate of opioid overdoses in New Mexico, but police and sheriff’s departments haven’t been able to get a reliable supply of naloxone—also known as Narcan—to use on the streets.

"We’re out. I don’t have any," said Sheriff David Lujan. "I had two and I used them on a male individual about 2 weeks ago, and it was fruitless he passed away anyway. I think it was probably because of the time lapse from when he overdosed to when I got on scene.

But in most cases, Sheriff Lujan says, having a supply of naloxone on hand makes all the difference, because it’s law enforcement that shows  up first when a overdose gets called in.

"But if we have more deputies that have it, we have a better chance of saving some more lives," he said.

But, he says the 232 doses currently on its way from the county won’t last long. Meanwhile county Health and Human Services Director Lauren Reichelt says she’ll be looking for other sources of Narcan for Rio Arriba police and sheriffs officers. 

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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