The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center and Lake County officials on Tuesday honored a pharmaceutical company for a second donation of a drug administered by law enforcement that has already assisted in saving 33 lives throughout Lake County.
Virginia-based kaléo is matching last year’s donation of 3,000 kits of EVZIO (naloxone HCI injection), to the Health Department. Each kit contains two single-dose EVZIO auto-injectors containing the drug naloxone and a trainer for practice. In cooperation with the Lake County Opioid Initiative, the Health Department’s Substance Abuse Program provides training to police officers in Lake County who in turn train their peers. The trained officers carry the auto-injectors in their squad cars and use them to administer naloxone when responding to a call of a suspected opioid overdose. Voice and visual cues help to guide each officer through the injection process. The naloxone temporarily reverses the effect of an opioid, keeping the victim breathing until emergency aid arrives.
“Lake County is facing a serious heroin problem. By putting these auto-injectors into the hands of police officers and first responders, victims are given a second chance at life,” Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said. “We are very thankful for this donation that will truly save lives.”
Heroin deaths have increased sharply in many states, according to a report of death certificate data from 28 states published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two things appear to be driving the increase in heroin overdoses: (1) widespread prescription opioid exposure and increasing rates of opioid addiction; and (2) increased heroin supply. Heroin often costs less than prescription opioids and is increasingly available.
“Fifty-nine opioid deaths took place in Lake County in 2014,” said the Health Department’s Executive Director Tony Beltran. “We are grateful to kaléo for helping the County address this growing concern.”
Accepting the honor on Tuesday was Mark A. Herzog, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, for kaléo. “We are pleased to be making this donation as part of our commitment to widen access to naloxone,” he said. “We are honored to support the outstanding efforts of the local law enforcement community to help save the lives of those who are experiencing an opioid overdose.”