Some Prince William police officers are now equipped with naloxone, to help individuals experiencing an opioid overdose.
Naloxone, known often as the brand name Narcan, is a substance that is administered when a person is found unresponsive due to an overdose of opioids.
“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,” stated a release.
Read more about naloxone and what it does.
The Prince William County Police Department last year alone had 49 opioid-related deaths they investigated in the county, and in June of this year, the total for the year had already hit 24, according to a release.
In response to the increase in opioid-related deaths, the county police suspended field-testing of suspected heroin and opioids “due to the risk exposed to officers if the substance is accidentally inhaled or has unintentional contact with the skin.”
So far, 36 officers in the department have received training on the medication and how to administer it.
“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,” stated a release.
More on the decision for Prince William police to carry naloxone, from a release:
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.
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