To combat opioid overdoses, members of law enforcement can attend a free Naloxone training on Dec. 18.  
The training, which will be held at the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center, is part of a statewide push to provide law enforcement and first responders with Naloxone kits to reduce overdose deaths and the training to use them quickly.
ODMHSAS public information director Jeffrey Dismukes said the department started these programs in Tulsa and Oklahoma City three years ago.
“Due to increased awareness of opioid overdose and the significant role law enforcement can play in saving lives, particularly in rural areas where EMS may be far away, requests for the training increased quickly,” Dismukes said.
Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is an “opioid antagonist” drug that exists solely to quickly counteract the effects of opioids. It comes in the form of a nasal spray that can be quickly administered to someone suffering an overdose.
Dismukes said the trainings will cover baseline understanding of the opioid overdose problem, how the drugs affect the brain and body, how to recognize an overdose and how to administer the naloxone. The class will also cover  Oklahoma statute §63-1-2506, or the Law Enforcement Good Samaritan Law.
Lisa Jackson, Carter County’s Partnerships for Success coordinator, said the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will also hold similar trainings in Elm City and Woodward.
“We started at the beginning of this year,” Jackson said. “In Ardmore, a lot of the officers have the kits in their cars now.”
While the opioid crisis has intensified in recent years, the problem began to take root years ago. According to, prescription drugs have been the most common cause of overdose deaths in Oklahoma since the 90s. In 2012, more overdose deaths involved hydrocodone than methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine combined.  
“We started this because of the increase in overdoses we’re seeing with opioids,” Jackson said. “If we can prevent someone from dying with this training, that’s what we’re aiming to do.”
Naloxone kits will be available to law enforcement agencies that pre-register for the training.
“(ODMHSAS is) trying to get every first responder carrying Naloxone in their vehicle,” Jackson said.