The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Roosevelt approves overdose prevention program


December 6, 2017

PORTALES — The Roosevelt County Commission on Tuesday approved a program aimed at preventing opioid abusers from overdosing, despite some initial apprehension from commissioners.

Roosevelt County Detention Center Administrator Justin Porter introduced the program, which identifies inmates who may be at risk for opioid addiction and provides them with the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone upon their release from jail.

Commonly known as Narcan, Naloxone will be provided to detainees in the form of nasal spray.

The program is part of a $550,000 grant provided by the New Mexico Association of Counties.

"The pilot program was to flood it out there because the state has recognized that there is a huge opiate overdose problem and opiate misuse problem," he said.

Commissioner Dennis Lopez wondered how the program's effectiveness would be measured.

Porter said Naloxone's success at preventing overdoses would be hard to measure, but cited nine rescues in Santa Fe.

Lopez conceded that northern New Mexico has a large opioid problem, but said "I just see that it's a lot more minute here."

Another reason for introducing Naloxone into the Portales-area community, according to Porter, is to develop "a measuring stick for what it would take to maintain and sustain this program."

Commissioner Gene Creighton asked if providing detainees with Naloxone would create a liability, to which County Attorney Randy Knudson answered with an emphatic "no."

"We're having each of the people that receive the (Naloxone) sign a consent form that basically outlines what the potential complications and risks are, and that they understand that. They have informed consent," Knudson said.

Detainees are identified as being at risk for opioid overdose upon intake, according to Porter, and offered training in the use of Naloxone and methods to identify opioid addiction in others. The program will also be offered to community members not in jail.

"We're gonna provide the training to everybody, because the Narcan/Naloxone program didn't isolate itself to just the detainees. It did very much open up to the community," Porter said.

While Lopez said he supports programs that can save lives, he was concerned some community members would believe the county was supporting drug use.

"We have a lot of individuals with tunnel vision, and we're probably gonna get a lot of criticism, stating that we're condoning drug use, because they're not going to look and research and read into the specifics and the details of what the program's all about, so we need to prepare for that as well," he said.

The program is aimed solely at educating and equipping anyone at risk of overdose with the tools they need, according to Porter.

"Those are the people that we're really trying to get out and help, because they don't understand," he said.

Also at Tuesday's meeting:

• Commissioners approved easements on South Roosevelt Road Q 1/2 and the Redwine Quincy subdivisions.

• Commissioners approved the retirement of the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Department's K-9 unit.

Sheriff Malin Parker said the dog will be returned to its original handler, and all tools related to the K-9 program will be retained in case the department decides to revive the program.

• Commissioners approved the county's 2018 capital outlay request list.

The top five priorities, according to County Manager Amber Hamilton, are various road improvements, courthouse renovations, road disaster rehabilitation, road equipment upgrades, and detention center improvements.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017