Inmates being trained to use Narcan

August 10, 2018 05:18 PM

Inmates at the Monroe County Jail are now being trained to use Narcan, and about half of them will get a box of it when they're released from jail.

The Narcan will be paid for by the Monroe County Health Department through a grant from New York State. Each kit contains two doses and instructions on how it should be administered.  

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Dr. Tisha Smith is the director of drug and alcohol treatment programs for inmates at the Monroe County Jail.

"I think it's important for all of us to know how to administer Narcan," she says.  

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke: "You can see critics saying.. 'well, you're giving them something that will save their life if they get out of here and decide to shoot up again'."

Dr. Smith: "So, here's my response to that... they can't administer it to themselves because they'd be overdosing. This is about having the equipment and the necessary tools to help in the event you are around an overdose, period."

Dr. Smith says in most cases, those overcoming addiction, didn't become addicted in a room alone.  

Many of the inmates say their friends and family members are also struggling and are happy to learn how to use Narcan in the event of an emergency.  

While all inmates will be trained on how to use it, only those who've been involved in a drug treatment program while in jail will get a kit to take home when they get out of jail. 

"If you have the ability to save a life and instill hope and education and motivation for recovery, why not take advantage of that? Drug use, the sentence for drug use, should not be death," Dr. Smith tells News10NBC. 

If Narcan ever has to be used in the jail, the deputies, nurses and counselors are trained to do it.  

News10NBC asked how often that happens. We were told it only happens occasionally, and mostly when an inmate is being processed directly following an arrest. 


Jennifer Lewke

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