PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley is encouraging South Dakotans to participate and follow National Heroin and Opiate Awareness Week. The Attorney General’s Office encourages everyone to learn more about the dangers that accompany this abuse. Knowing and recognizing the signs of opiate abuse can help prevent some from falling victim to this addiction.
“The national heroin and opiate epidemic is impacting South Dakota and having a devastating effect on families and communities,” said Jackley. “We have been proactive in South Dakota by equipping our first responders with Narcan, building an effective prescription drug monitoring program, and holding joint law enforcement and medical training. But there is more to be done- this week presents an important opportunity to educate yourself and loved ones about the early signs of addiction.”
The addiction to heroin commonly begins with prescription opiate abuse. Both heroin and opiate addiction impacts the lives of so many individuals. Every single economic level is at risk, and it does not target a particular gender or specific age group.
South Dakota suffered 49 accidental drug overdose deaths in 2015, several of which heroin and opiates were contributing factors.
In August 2016, the Attorney General’s Office hosted an Opioid Abuse Training targeting attorneys, healthcare professionals, policy makers, law enforcement and service providers with the latest education and tools to help combat the problems that arise from opioid abuse.
In addition, September 2016 marked the roll-out of the anti-meth campaign contest created for college students. The Attorney General’s Office along with the South Dakota Chiefs and Sheriff’s Associations, South Dakota Department of Public Safety, United States Attorney’s Office and the South Dakota States Attorneys Association are partnering together to help assist the students in creating an innovative message. Phase I of the competition focuses on the statewide meth problem, with plans to implement the heroin addiction in future phases of the competition.
The Attorney General’s Office sponsored legislation in 2015 that would enable all first responders to carry naloxone, a medicine to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. Having naloxone available is a cost-effective way to save lives especially to our rural first responders. The Attorney General’s Office has authorized the use of available drug control funds to assist units of local government and first responders with the purchase of the Narcan agent.
The South Dakota Prescription Drug Monitoring Program provides physicians and pharmacists the opportunity to voluntarily access the prescription repository in order to have available additional medical history. At the request of the Attorney General, the PDMP was passed into law during the 2010 legislative session. The purpose of this program was to improve patient care by providing physicians and pharmacists with a controlled substance dispensing history for their patients.