POST FALLS, Idaho – Post Falls Police, and later the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, will soon equip officers with a medication called Narcan, a life-saving medicine that helps people overdosing on painkillers.
The “opioid epidemic” is often discussed in America, and Post Falls Police say it is very real. Post Falls Police have seen a spike in calls of people overdosing on drugs like heroin. Now, a new piece of equipment will help stop the drug in its tracks.
Narcan is a medication, typically given as a nasal spray, that stops the effects of painkillers.
“The patient does the opioid. They’re going about 90 miles an hour. The drug comes in and stops them,” firefighter and paramedic, Shane Anderson said.
The paramedics at Kootenai county Fire and Rescue have been giving Narcan to people overdosing for years now. The drug is not anything new. What is new though, is who will be able to administer Narcan. Enter, Post Falls Police.
The department’s chief said that officers were responding to heroin overdose calls on a weekly, if not daily basis and often, police officers are on scene minutes before paramedics get there.
“I think it’s just another transition for them because they get there faster than us, than the fire department, and they can administer this Narcan pretty quick,” Anderson said.
Over the next several weeks, Post Falls officers and Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies will be trained on how to administer Narcan to patients.
The Post Falls Police Department Chief said his department will be one for the first in the Inland Northwest to equip officers with a drug. They will use smaller, fixed dosage cartridges.
“That’s one less step I have to do. I can worry more about the airway issue or the bigger things,” Anderson said.
Kootenai County Fire and Rescue said Narcan is highly effective. In fact, the drug is so effective, they said it works every time. Within the last year, they have administered Narcan to 34 people while they were overdosing. That number translates to 34 lives saved because of the medication.
“Ultimately, I look at our community. It’s safer because of this drug,” Anderson said.
The Post Falls PD Chief said that having officers carry the drug could be effective in case officers or even K-9 units are accidentally exposed to heroin in some way.