CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago now gives at-risk inmates the overdose-reversing drug naloxone upon their release from jail and Los Angeles is poised to follow suit, putting the antidote in as many hands as possible as part of a multifaceted approach to combatting the nation's opioid epidemic.
The Cook County Jail in Chicago has trained about 900 inmates how to use naloxone nasal spray devices since last summer and has distributed 400 of them to at-risk men and women as they got out. The devices can undo the effects of an opiate overdose almost immediately and are identical to those used by officers in many of the country's law enforcement agencies.
Sheriff Tom Dart, whose office runs the jail, says addicts are most at-risk of fatally overdosing in the two weeks after getting out because of their time away from drugs while locked up.
In New York City, more than 4,000 kits have been distributed to friends and relatives of inmates at the city's jail at Rikers Island since the program there was launched in 2014. Los Angeles is due to start its program early next year.