Prince William Police to Combat Opioid Overdoes with ‘Narcan’

| November 14, 2017 | 0 Comments | News

One does of Naloxone (Courtesy Prince William County Police.)

Submitted by Prince William County Police, Office of Communications

This November, the Prince William County Police Department began equipping officers with the medication Naloxone, commonly referred to as “Narcan.”

This drug, when administered, is known to counter the effects of someone suffering from an opioid or opiate-related overdose. Naloxone is designed to displace the opioids from the receptors in the brain that control the central nervous system and respiratory system with the hopes of bringing the individual out of an overdose situation.

In 2016, the Prince William County Police Department investigated 49 fatal opioid-related overdoses in the County. Since June of 2017, the number of deaths from opioids reached 24. In August of this year, the Department suspended the field-testing of suspected heroin or opioid substances due to the risk exposed to officers if the substance is accidentally inhaled or has unintentional contact with the skin.

Currently, 36 officers assigned to different bureaus in the Department have received training to carry and properly administer this life-saving medication. Over the next several months, all Department members will receive similar training as provided by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in conjunction with the REVIVE! Program. Only officers who have received this training will be permitted to administer Naloxone.

In addition, any Department member assigned a police K-9 will attend further training with an approved veterinarian on how to property administer the medication to their service animal in the event of an exposure to an opiate or opioid.

Naloxone kits. (Prince William County Police.)

The Department has acquired kits containing two 4mg doses of the medication, which were distributed amongst the three patrol districts and other specialized units. The Department will also document and record all uses of Naloxone and its effectiveness on the recipient when officers administer the drug.

The decision for Department members to carry Naloxone was made for two reasons: officer safety and the opportunity to save lives. The opioid epidemic poses a significant threat to not only the users of illicit narcotics, but also the law enforcement officers and medical services personnel who respond to calls for service involving overdoes and drug encounters.

In times when officers are the first to arrive at the scene of an overdose or exposure, trained personnel may be able to administer the medication in the critical time needed to save a life.

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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