Inmates Trained to Stop Overdoses and Save Lives

State expands overdose training pilot program in local detention centers.

Inmates in county jails are learning how to spot an overdose and administer naloxone, thanks to the expansion of a program to spread education and access to the lifesaving drug.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Five counties, including Baltimore County, are receiving state funding to pay for naloxone kits as an expansion of a pilot program the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launched in Southern Maryland jails this year. Anne Arundel, Frederick, Harford and Washington counties are also getting new funding.

The idea is to target a high-risk population, said Erin Haas, local programs manager for overdose prevention at the state Behavioral Health Administration. Many local health departments already provide services within jails.

The state is encouraging counties to consider having “peer recovery specialists” — those in recovery who are trained to help others — teach inmates about naloxone, she said.

Distributing naloxone to inmates being released was among the recommendations made last year by the state’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force. The state is now spending about $150,000 annually to do so, health officials said.

The article notes that inmates are “particularly susceptible to overdosing — without access to drugs in jail” as the lack of access to drugs contributes to a drop in tolerance levels. This as well as the fact they often associate with other drug users, makes them prime candidates for this overdose response program.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun