CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
The Cincinnati Police Department announced Thursday that they will unveil a new program this week that would allow CPD officers to use the drug Narcan (Naloxone) for victims suffering from known or suspected opiate overdose.
This announcement comes just months after FOX19 NOW Investigative Reporter Amy Wagner spoke to Chief Jeffrey Blackwell about the drug's integration into CPD.
"When a person is pretty much dead literally and Narcan can bring them back, I think we have the responsibility to do what we can to save lives," Blackwell said in that interview. "We'll roll it out slowly, once we get it started. We'll probably start with Quality of Life teams in each of the five districts, two officers who walk, and we'll see how things go from there."
According to officials, the drug will be kept in the cruiser or with the officer when walking.
As heroin overdoses have spiked across the country, more police agencies are equipping their officers with Narcan instead of waiting for paramedics to arrive. In the first seven months of 2014, Cincinnati fire and emergency medical crews administered Narcan more than 1,100 times, that's roughly seven overdoses a day.
According to the Ohio Attorney General's office, in 2013, on average at least 17 Ohioans died each week from a heroin overdose. Earlier this year, Ohio lawmakers approved a measure to expand naloxone access to include law enforcement and first responders.
Narcan can be administered by injection under the skin, in a muscle or vein or in the case of law enforcement, in a nasal spray.
When someone takes heroin, it locks onto receptors in the brain, slowing the body down. If a person takes too much heroin, breathing can stop. Narcan, the so-called Lazarus drug, frees up the receptors, bringing the person back to life.