The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health will be distributing naloxone statewide to emergency first responders.

Senate Bill 272, which became effective on Tuesday, June 5, says all first responders will carry naloxone, subject to sufficient funding and supplies, and be trained to reduce overdose deaths in West Virginia.

WVDHHR says this was part of Governor Jim Justice’s 2018 legislative agenda.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health, released the following statement:

“DHHR has purchased a $1,000,000 supply of naloxone, about 34,000 doses, as part of Gov. Justice’s commitment to combatting the opioid crisis. The plan is to distribute 22 percent (7,800) of the doses to the West Virginia State Police (WVSP), 24 percent (8,200) to the State Fire Marshall’s Office (WVFM) for fire departments and 29 percent (10,000) to support EMS response across the state.  Additionally, eight high priority counties including Berkeley, Cabell, Harrison, Kanawha, Mercer, Monongalia, Ohio, and Raleigh will each receive 1,000 doses of naloxone.”

Distribution of the naloxone kits by DHHR’s Office of Emergency Medical Services, WVSP and WVFM  began Tuesday and is expected to be completed by June 30.

The naloxone kits include a 2mg naloxone syringe and atomizer.

The kits were purchased with funding from the West Virginia Legislature to DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy. 

“Naloxone helps keep people alive, so they can have the opportunity to enter counseling and treatment,” said Dr. Gupta. “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.”

To learn more about the recommendations in the state’s Overdose Response Plan, visit www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph