Maui police to carry medication that reverses opioid overdose

WAILUKU — Maui police have become the first officers in Hawaii to be equipped and trained to use a nasal spray that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The U.S. surgeon general said the spray form of naloxone temporarily counteracts the effects of an overdose, namely slowed or stopped breathing, The Maui News reported.

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The surgeon general said the medication is a “safe antidote to a suspected overdose, and, when given in time, can save a life.”

The department was given 200 kits of the spray, worth $14,000, through a grant from the state Department of Health.

Officers received training early this month from Heather Lusk, executive director of the Community Health Outreach Work Project.

Opioids include pain relievers legally obtained by prescription, along with fentanyl, which is described as being 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, along with heroin and others.

Maui Police Assistant Chief John Jakubczak said that officers do not see many opioid overdoses, but it’s good to have the extra tool available.

Lusk said the spray is as easy to use as Flonase, an allergy nasal spray.

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Kauai officers have received training for the naloxone spray, although they are not yet supplied with it, Lusk said.

She was unsure of the status of other departments in the state.

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