Broome County Sheriff's Deputies and Corrections Officers have been equipped with a new tool to combat the opioid crisis and prevent overdose deaths.

Broome County Sheriff's Office
Broome County Sheriff's Office

As of April 22, 2024, select members of the Sheriff's Road Patrol and Corrections divisions have started carrying Opvee (nalmefene), an FDA-approved opioid antagonist nasal spray, along with Narcan (naloxone) as part of a pilot program.

Alarming Trends in Synthetic Opioid Overdose Deaths

The decision to introduce Opvee is based on alarming data from the New York State Department of Health 2023 Opioid Annual Data Report. The report reveals a significant increase in opioid overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids in New York, from 30.8% in 2015 to 91.6% in 2021—an increase of 197.4%. This drastic rise in synthetic opioid deaths underscores the need for additional measures to address the evolving crisis.

Addressing the Complexity of Fentanyl Overdoses

The New York State Department of Health report highlights the need for multiple doses of naloxone to revive individuals who have overdosed on substances containing fentanyl. This further emphasizes the urgency of finding more effective treatments for fentanyl-related overdoses.

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FDA Approval and Success of Opvee

Opvee has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the emergency treatment of suspected opioid overdoses. It works by quickly reversing opioid overdose effects such as respiratory depression, sedation, and low blood pressure. The FDA's approval of Opvee is part of its continued efforts to support the development of novel overdose reversal products to combat the opioid crisis.

Deploying Opvee in Broome County

In Broome County, Deputies and corrections officers now carry Opvee alongside Narcan during their shifts, and Corrections Officers have easy access to Opvee in the Intake and Medical areas of the Broome County Correctional Facility. Training has been provided to ensure proper deployment of Opvee, as well as data collection to track its success.

Broome County Sheriff's Office
Broome County Sheriff's Office

A Hopeful Future

Sheriff Fred Akshar emphasizes the need to modernize the tools available to save lives and combat the changing landscape of the opioid crisis. By introducing Opvee, the Sheriff's Office aims to make a significant impact in preventing overdose deaths and fighting back against the devastating effects of fentanyl.

The implementation of Opvee in Broome County is a proactive step towards addressing the opioid crisis, providing hope for individuals struggling with addiction, their families, and the community at large. With the new tool in their hands, Sheriff's Deputies and Corrections Officers are now better equipped to save lives.

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