JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - First responders throughout Alabama are receiving medicine that is key to helping those exposed to dangerous opioids.
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Alabama ranks highest in the nation for having more opioid prescriptions than people. "We have an epidemic going on right now with opioid use, painkillers," said Representative Tommy Hanes.
While law enforcement is fighting to keep the misuse of these drugs off of the streets, they're also fighting to keep people from overdosing. "Well this is going to be very beneficial when it comes to saving lives," said Representative Hanes.
Representative Hanes, along with Senator Steve Livingston distributed devices to responders in Jackson County to help victims of overdose. "The Evzio was donated by Kaleo Pharmaceuticals. They've donated over a quarter million dollars worth of medication for our volunteer fire departments in this county," said Derrell Massey, a pharmacist.
Responders are able to inject this medicine into a victim to counteract the drugs in an emergency situation. Rural counties like Jackson, who have to travel far for hospital help, greatly benefit from this product. "The Alabama Department of Public Health is working to distribute these throughout the state."
These types of devices wouldn't be available to smaller departments if it wasn't for the donation. "They don't have the funds to purchase it. I actually sit on city council in Section, Alabama. We don't have those type funds."
Jackson County responders were also trained on how to use the devices by a local pharmacist.