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South Coast community with large rise in fatal opioid overdoses is handing out rescue kits

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Oxnard Police Department
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Opiod overdose rescue kits are being handed out to people experiencing homelessness in one South Coast community

A pilot program has been launched aimed at reducing opioid overdose deaths in Oxnard.

Oxnard Police Department responded to a total of 283 overdose calls in 2021, nearly a 40% increase since 2019.

35 of those calls were fatalities.

Sergeant Steve Trickle from City of Oxnard Police Department says they’ve begun to distribute Overdose Rescue Kits to the city’s unsheltered and homeless population, designed to combat and reduce fatal opioid overdoes in the city.

He told KCLU that the goal of the program is to save lives, reduce overdose rates, and provide resources to the population that is most vulnerable.

It's a partnership between Oxnard Police Department’s Homeless Liaison Unit and Ventura County Behavioral Health, and part of a pilot program called “Project Leave Behind.”

The newly implemented program is the first of its kind in Ventura County.

The Overdose Rescue Kits contain three doses of Naloxone (Narcan), a CPR shield, & educational and additional information for county-wide drug addiction treatment and recovery.

Naloxone is a medication used for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose, and can rapidly reverse its effects.

Naloxone was used by Oxnard Police officers over sixty (60) times in 2021.

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Oxnard Police Department
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The kits contain a medication which can rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose

The literature in each kit is printed in both English and Spanish.

In addition, there is a QR code in each kit to access the same information via any smartphone or tablet.

Nationally, drug overdose deaths increased 28% in 2021 with a total of over 100,000 deaths.

In 2020, there were 78,000 drug overdose deaths nationally; the drug fentanyl is responsible for the dramatic increase in OD fatalities.

Ventura County has also suffered a similar increase in overdose rates due to fentanyl use.

The Oxnard Police Department’s Homeless Liaison Unit distributed 50 Overdose Rescue Kits to unsheltered / homeless individuals during the first month of “Project Leave Behind.”

After evaluating the pilot program, OD Rescue Kits will be issued to Oxnard PD Neighborhood Policing Teams and Patrol Officers.

OD Rescue Kits will be distributed at overdose calls for service, contacts with opioid/narcotic dependent users or family members/significant others of addicts who are likely to encounter a loved one suffering from an opioid overdose.