Anne Arundel County Police to Carry Heroin Antidote

Police officers in Anne Arundel County will become the first police force in the Maryland to be issued Narcan (naloxone), a  drug used to counteract an overdose in heroin users. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

Anne Arundel County has seen heroin overdoses at a rate of more than one a day so far in 2014, and on Monday officials said they’re putting a powerful drug in the hands of police officers in hopes of saving lives.

Officers are being trained to administer a nasal mist known as Narcan, or naloxone, a drug designed to halt overdose symptoms in heroin users.

While Anne Arundel County is the first jurisdiction to issue Narcan to police officers, the drug has been available and used by paramedics and medical technicians in many jurisdictions across the state.  As officers are sometime first responders to emergency situations, access to the drug will help to prevent more overdose deaths. As the article further notes:

Arundel’s paramedics have carried Narcan since about 1980, and emergency medical technicians began carrying the drug Jan. 1, said Division Chief Keith Swindle, a Fire Department spokesman. The department uses a type of Narcan that’s administered through an intravenous needle or a shot into a muscle.

Baltimore paramedics also have administered Narcan since the 1980s, according to Baltimore City Fire Department spokesman Ian T. Brennan. Police officers in Baltimore do not carry it.

Swindle said Narcan quickly reverses a heroin overdose — to the point that patients often are startled and angry. “It works like a charm,” he said.Narcan kits for police come at no additional cost to Arundel because the county already stocks the medication for ambulances, said County Executive Laura Neuman.

Dr. Roy A. Myers, medical director for Anne Arundel police and fire departments, said putting Narcan in the hands of officers can help save lives because they sometimes arrive at an emergency situation before firefighters and paramedics.

“The speed at which you can get the Narcan into the patient is critical,” Myers said.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.

On Thursday, June 12, 2014  MACo is hosting a Substance Abuse Summit to provide a forum to learn about what’s being done in Maryland to address the opioid epidemic and what resources are available to counties and stakeholders who are working to prevent opioid abuse in Maryland. For more information on the event and registration please view the Substance Abuse Summit Flyer.