Two local police departments will soon begin carrying Narcan, an intranasal medication that can treat opioid overdoses in emergency situations.
Dr. Justin Northeim, medical director for the Argyle Fire District, said Naloxone — brand name Narcan — can help save the life of someone who overdoses on opioids and a police officer who comes into contact with the drugs.
Overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, according to The New York Times. Northeim said the growing issue is caused by people getting addicted to opioid painkillers and turning to cheaper, illegal drugs like heroin. Some people mix these drugs, such as Fentanyl, to create very potent substances.
Northeim said that on a typical day of work, officers may unknowingly touch a very small amount of these opioids — such as while conducting a vehicle search, for example — and be affected by the drugs. Soon, they will be able to self-administer the intranasal Narcan, which will reverse the effect of the opioids.
EMS paramedics already carry Narcan, but in the case of an officer reaching an overdose patient first, the officer will be able to provide Narcan treatment to the patient.
Northeim said the only North Texas police department that is currently carrying Narcan — of which he is aware — is the Carrollton Police Department, but he said several others are considering it. Other departments around the country have begun carrying it for the same purposes.
Argyle Police Chief Temple Cottle said he expects APD officers to begin carrying Narcan in late July or early August, after all training is completed. Bartonville Police Chief Bobby Dowell said he expects BPD to deploy Narcan by mid-July.