BCBST, LEIC Partner to Prevent Overdose Deaths

Law Enforcement Services

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Law Enforcement Innovation Center Partner To Prevent Drug Overdose Deaths

The UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center’s work highlighted in new issue of Better Tennessee Magazine

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Each year, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation partners with local organizations to improve community health. This year, BlueCross and the University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) are providing a naloxone training program for first responders who answer to drug-overdose calls. Narcan, or naloxone, is a drug that counteracts overdose effects, allowing first responders to save lives in seconds.

“We are helping in the outreach that will eventually get Narcan out to law enforcement officers across the state,” said Don Green, LEIC executive director. “We want to make responders aware of the product first of all, and then show them what they can do for victims of opioid overdoses.”

The training reviews how to inject the nasal spray, as well as the product’s shelf life and how it works, says Chris Jones, training specialist, who adds that putting Narcan into responders’ hands will help them in a wide variety of calls, not just those related to possible drug overdose.

“It’s amazing,” said Corporal Alex MacPherson from Columbia, Tenn. “We get people who have overdosed, and you do everything you can, but get very little physical stimulus to show that CPR or whatever you’re doing is working. A monitor spike shows they’re still alive, so you keep going and hope you can keep them from dying. With Narcan, they get up and walk around. Nothing is like this.”

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation provided $35,000 for Narcan training provided by LEIC. And to raise more awareness for the cause, LEIC was featured in the latest edition of Better Tennessee magazine, published by BlueCross.

“We are thankful for the Law Enforcement Innovation Center and how they’re equipping first responders to save lives,” said Chelsea Johnson, interim director of community relations and foundations at BlueCross. “Supporting organizations that improve community health is core to our mission.”

Through grants from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust, as well as corporate sponsorships, BlueCross invested nearly $10.5 million in Tennessee communities in 2016.

About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust

The Community Trust is a 26 U.S.C. (c)(4) organization designed to allow BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to offer additional support to charitable and civic causes in the communities we serve.

About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc. was established in December, 2003 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation awards grants focused on high-impact initiatives across the state, which promote healthy lifestyle choices and help control health care costs for all Tennessee residents. Working with civic and economic partners, the foundation is dedicated to the support of research, innovative programs and creative approaches to improve the health and quality of life of Tennesseans for generations to come.

About BlueCross®

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s mission is to peace of mind through better health. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on serving more than 3.4 million members in Tennessee and across the country. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s website at bcbst.com.