STPG and Partners Offer Another Tool in Fighting Opioid Epidemic

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper announced today that St. Tammany Parish Government, in collaboration with St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston, has secured 1980 kits containing two 4mg doses of the opioid antagonist NARCAN for cost-free pick up by citizens at fire stations throughout St. Tammany, and at Florida Parishes Human Services Authority offices.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith; St. Tammany Parish Fire District #1 Chief Chris Kaufmann; Florida Parishes Human Services Executive Director Richard Kramer; and Dan Schneider, Advocate and subject of the Netflix Documentary The Pharmacist, joined President Cooper and Coroner Preston to make the announcement this morning with the St. Tammany Parish 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery and 22nd Judicial Specialty Court Judges ——– standing in support of this collaborative initiative. This distribution — the first phase of a two-phase initiative in the fight against the ongoing Opioid Epidemic— was made possible through a competitive grant — the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program — from the Bureau of Justice Administration.

“The Opioid Epidemic is real and it is crippling to the families who face it every single day. We are committed to our fight against this dreaded addiction. The Louisiana Department of Health reports that in 2019, St. Tammany Parish had the second highest number of Opioid-involved deaths in the State of Louisiana,” President Cooper said. “While NARCAN is not a solution to addiction, it does offer citizens a second chance to save their loved one’s life, to start them on the path to recovery through treatment. We are proud to facilitate this program and grateful to all involved stakeholders who will make this life-saving effort a reality.”

“There are often times when our deputies arrive on a scene, prior to EMS. When someone is overdosing and time is of the essence, this tool (NARCAN) gives our deputies the ability to immediately render aid and potentially save lives,” said St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith. “NARCAN will not prevent a person from using drugs in the future, but it gives them a fighting chance to have a future where they can make better decisions and ultimately get the help they need to fight their addiction.”

“NARCAN can transform a tragic death into the chance for a new life,” said Dr. Charles Preston, St. Tammany Parish Coroner.

“NARCAN may give you a chance at life, but a recovery program can save your life,” said Chief Chris Kaufmann, St. Tammany Fire District #1. “Together we can make a difference.”

“We commend President Cooper for taking this step to help protect the lives of people in our community and are thankful that he has asked us to be a partner in this initiative,” said Richard Kramer, Executive Director, Florida Parishes Human Services.

“Treat every overdose person as if it was your child. NARCAN can give them a chance at recovery and a future,” said The Pharmacist, Dan Schneider.

Beginning Thursday, April 29, 2021, citizens may visit fire stations throughout St. Tammany Parish to pick up kits containing two 4mg doses of NARCAN with administration instructions. The doses have a three-year shelf life. The kits are free and no questions are asked. Citizens will be asked to sign a waiver indicating they received instructions on how to administer the life-saving drug. Officials stress that people who administer NARCAN to an overdose victim should immediately seek medical attention for them through 9-1-1. The Good Samaritan Law protects individuals who seek emergency help during an overdose, even if they too are involved in illegal drug use at the time of the life-saving call to first responders.

The second phase of this initiative will focus on recovery and treatment resources. The total expenditure for grant fulfillment during Phase I for the outreach and packaging materials as well as the NARCAN purchase was $169,500. Plans for Phase II will be announced in the coming months. The distribution of NARCAN will continue until all kits are depleted.

For a map of pickup locations, please visit www.stpgov.org/NARCAN