HCSO issues Narcan to personnel to protect against accidental fentanyl overdoses
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. —
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) says it has launched a new program to protect deputies who might come into contact with fentanyl.
HCSO spokesman Matt Lea says the Sheriff’s Office is one of the few law enforcement agencies in this area issuing Narcan to its officers.
In powder form, Fentanyl, a drug classified as an opioid, which can be absorbed through the skin and accidentally inhaled, and has become a common cutting agent for heroin.
The life-saving drug, commonly known as Narcan, reverses effects of an opiate/opioid overdose, like heroin or prescription OxyContin and has been in use by medical professionals for more than 40 years.
Law enforcement agencies across the country have reported an increase in exposure to the potentially deadly painkiller.
Lea says as opiate overdoses have soared nationwide, more police departments are taking a hard look at equipping their officers and other first responders with naloxone instead of waiting for paramedics to arrive. Officers are often the first to arrive at the scene, and experts say those early minutes can be the key to saving a life.
"We in law enforcement recognize that every single life is precious and a gift, and that we must do all we can to help victims who are suffering. The addicts who have fallen prey to the disease of addiction are our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, parents, and friends. While much must be done in order to combat addiction and the surge of illegal drugs being brought to our front doors, this effort moves us closer to recognizing the grayness of the line between addiction and crime," Lea says.
Lea says the HCSO will pay for the nasal naloxone kits with money from the County's Drug Forfeiture Fund.
Even though the HCSO has deployed the use of Narcan for the safety of its deputies, the Narcan can be utilized to help citizens in need of emergency medical attention as necessary. Lea says just this past week, a HCSO Traffic Investigator issued Narcan to a suspected female overdose victim thus stabilizing her until emergency medical staff arrived on the scene.