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APD to equip vehicles with anti-overdose drug

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At least half of Albuquerque Police Department vehicles will be equipped with anti-overdose naloxone kits by Sept. 30, with the remaining vehicles getting them by the end of the year, under a resolution adopted by the City Council on Monday.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilor Diane Gibson, was adopted by an 8-0 vote. Councilor Brad Winter was absent.

The measure now goes to Mayor Richard Berry for his consideration.

The resolution speeds up the deadlines for implementing the naloxone program the council previously approved in October. It also sets aside $10,000 to purchase naloxone rescue kits for APD.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a drug that blocks the effects of opioids like heroin. It is sprayed in the nose of individuals who are overdosing.

The city already requires that naloxone be kept in first-aid kits in city buildings. Police officers in Rio Rancho and Santa Fe already carry it.

“Ultimately the risk is relatively low, the cost is relatively low, but the potential to save a life is high,” Rio Rancho police Lt. Joel Holt told city councilors.

Capt. James Lamb, with the Santa Fe Police Department, said his department launched its naloxone program in November. Since then, he said, officers have used naloxone 16 times and were able to save 15 of those people who were overdosing.

“In Bernalillo County, the prescription opioid overdose rate has been 185 per 100,000, and the heroin (overdose rate) has been 153,” said Dominick Zurlo, manager of the state Department of Health’s Harm Reduction Program.

He said naloxone isn’t harmful if administered to someone who isn’t on opioids.

_standing_head_page_2″>Consolidation study: Despite concerns from one city councilor that the city had not reached out to Bernalillo County leaders, the council voted 7-1 to a adopt a resolution authorizing $50,000 for a study of the feasibility of consolidating APD with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and city and county fire departments.

The bill was sponsored by council President Isaac Benton and Councilors Dan Lewis and Ken Sanchez.

Voting against it was Councilor Trudy Jones, who questioned whether the council was putting the cart before the horse by not first reaching out to the Bernalillo County Commission and manager on the study.

“To me, it’s about getting data,” Benton said. “We do not need to get permission from the county to do a study.”

Sanchez called the study a step in the right direction.

“When someone calls 911, and it’s a Priority 1 call, they do not care if it’s a county truck or a city truck. They just want that response to be immediate,” he said.

_standing_head_page_2″>Civic Plaza renaming: Three city councilors want to name the stage and buildings at Civic Plaza the “Al Hurricane Sr. Pavilion at Civic Plaza” in honor of the man considered the godfather of New Mexico music.

The resolution was introduced during Monday night’s council meeting but no action was taken. The measure is sponsored by Sanchez, Benton and Councilor Klarissa Peña.

The councilors say they want to honor Hurricane “for his dedication and commitment to our great city and state and for his remarkable six-decade music career.”

Al Hurricane, also known as Alberto Nelson Sanchez, is perhaps best known for his contributions to New Mexico’s unique style of Spanish music.

Martin Salazar: