Lawrenceburg Police are now armed with Narcan (Naloxone) to aid victims suffering from known or suspected opiate overdoses. Lawrenceburg PD is the first department in Dearborn County to equip its officers with the lifesaving drug.
According to a press release from Lawrenceburg PD, officers received training with Narcan last week. Since then, two officers used the drug during two separate incidents.
Across the county, more police agencies have equipped officers with Narcan instead of waiting for paramedics to arrive to administer the drug. Cincinnati Police began using the drug this fall.
Sargent Nick Myers believes Narcan will help in the most dire situations.
"It does make you feel helpless, that you can only do so much," Myers said. "I think this program gives ourofficerss a step up in an ability to help the public."
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.
The initial cost for Lawrenceburg PD to carry Narcan is $120 per officer, and $90 each time the drug is used. Dearborn County's Prosecutor, Aaron Negangard, thinks it might not be money well spent.
"It's already difficult enough to get a drug addict to realize their behavior is dangerous," Negangard said. "This will reinforce their lack of concern over their own safety."