Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent, of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, announced at a press conference this morning the full deployment of Narcan to members of the Rhode Island State Police. This is in response to the epidemic of drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island this year. Narcan counteracts the effects of opioid overdoses.
The Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) conducted a training for all sworn members of the Rhode Island State Police on the administration of Narcan, which is delivered by nasal spray. Concurrent with the training, the State Police Planning, Research, and Accreditation Unit, in consultation with other law enforcement agencies, developed a policy for Narcan use and administration. This policy is now serving as a model policy for other state and municipal police departments.
DMAT ordered 300 doses of Narcan for the State Police that they made up into a kit including a tamper evident, sealable carrying case, a single dose of Narcan, a laminated instruction card, gloves, and atomizer to deliver the Narcan nasal spray. The total cost to the State Police for the 300 complete kits is $35.50 per kit. DMAT also assembled the kits at no cost to the State Police. The kits were paid for with federal drug forfeiture funds.
The kits will be distributed as follows: 158 kits to uniformed patrol troopers and 23 kits to detectives. Training will then be held for the Rhode Island Division of Sheriffs, who will receive 55 kits, and the Rhode Island Capitol Police, who will receive 15 kits. At the request of Richmond, Burrillville, and Hopkinton Police, they will receive 15 kits each. The remaining 4 kits will be kept for surplus.
Dr. Michael Fine, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, spoke at the press conference about the drug overdose epidemic facing the State of Rhode Island. Mr. Jonathan Goyer, a recovering addict, spoke about his experiences and how Narcan saved his life. Colonel O'Donnell recognized Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Dr. Fine for their leadership in addressing the overdose crisis. Ms. Faye Zuckerman, the Governor's Director of Communications, attended the press conference representing the Governor. Colonel O'Donnell thanked Brooke Lawrence, Chief of Operations for Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team for their invaluable assistance facilitating the purchase of the Narcan kits and providing the training to members of the Rhode Island State Police. Colonel O'Donnell also recognized Mr. Mike McGrath of Walgreen's Pharmacy, for providing technical assistance and support for this program.
Colonel O'Donnell stated, "If Narcan can save even one life, then it is incumbent upon us to have it available and for our troopers to be trained in its administration. Narcan will keep someone alive long enough for rescue personnel to respond, provide additional medical assistance, and transport the victim to the hospital. It's the right thing to do."
MEDIA CONTACT: Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Winquist, Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Field Operations, (401) 444-1002