DHHR begins distributing naloxone to all first responders in West Virginia

Published: Jun. 5, 2018 at 9:07 AM EDT
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An effort is underway in West Virginia to equip all first responders with naloxone.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources made the announcement Tuesday.

This is part of Senate Bill 272 which goes into effect Tuesday.

As part of the bill, all first responders will carry naloxone as long as there is sufficient funding and supplies.

The DHHR has purchased a $1 million dollar supply of naloxone which is about 34,000 doses.

According to the DHHR, the plan is to distribute 22 percent of the doses to West Virginia State Police, 24 percent to the State Fire Marshal's Office for fire departments, and 29 percent will go to support EMS crews.

Additionally, 8 high-priority counties including Berkeley, Cabell, Harrison, Kanawha, Mercer, Monongalia, Ohio, and Raleigh will each get 1,000 doses.

Distribution of the kits has already begun and is expected to be complete by June 30.

The kits were purchased with funding from the West Virginia Legislature.

“Naloxone helps keep people alive, so they can have the opportunity to enter counseling and treatment,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health said. “This is not the end all answer to the opioid crisis, but it is certainly a significant step forward in the right direction, as recommended in the state’s Overdose Response Plan.”