Maury Regional Health Care Foundation funds life-saving medication

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

COLUMBIA, TN – The Maury Regional Health Care Foundation recently funded a request for $16,000 to provide naloxone to first responders in the region. Naloxone is a medication that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include illegal substances such as heroin as well as prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic—with more than three out of five overdose deaths involving an opioid—and Tennessee ranks second in the U.S. for the rate of opioid pain relievers sold per person.

According to Foundation Executive Director Joe Kilgore, this funding will provide naloxone to law enforcement agencies, emergency management and fire departments in the region, placing this life-saving drug in the hands of first responders who may administer the medication in an effort to reverse an opioid overdose.

Assistant Chief of Police Michelle Jones with the Columbia Police Department stated, “In recent years, Columbia Police Department officers have responded to more and more opiate overdoses and unfortunately there wasn’t much aide that an officer could provide except wait for medical personnel to arrive. During the wait, precious time is being lost. Naloxone has changed that by giving our trained officers an instrument to administer the drug to a patient that has overdosed on opiates. Our hope is that the end result will be a life saved. Since April of 2016 every Columbia Police officer has been carrying Naloxone, which was funded by a grant that Maury Regional was awarded. Since the 2016 grant recently expired, the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation saw the importance and voted to continue funding Naloxone to our officers and other First Responders in our area. We have had several successful outcomes since April 2016 and are grateful to Maury Regional Health Care Foundation for not only seeing the need in our community but funding Naloxone to our department.”

According to Kilgore, this funding will continue a program that the Maury Regional Population Health Department launched in April 2016 with grant funding. During the first year of the program, the use of naloxone by regional first responders resulted in 27 successful overdose reversals.

“The goal is to save lives by reducing overdoses and providing families more time to intervene and seek the resources they need to treat the addiction,” said Kilgore.

More than $1.6 million in programs and services have been funded by the Foundation since it was established in 2006. The Foundation supports a wide variety of projects in the eight-county region of Middle Tennessee. Administrative expenses are funded by the medical center, allowing all donations to go directly into serving the community. To make a donation or learn more, visit MauryRegional.com/Foundation. For more information, call 931.380.4075.