Sheriff’s department receives kits to combat heroin overdoses
Published 9:32 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015
A local law enforcement agency has a new tool in the fight against opioid addiction.
Naloxone hydrochloride — more commonly referred to as Narcan — is a narcotics blocker that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if administered in time.
Capt. Robert Boyce, of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, said all of the department’s road patrol deputies are now carrying Narcan kits in their vehicles while on duty throughout southwest Michigan.
“If we can save one life it is worth carrying it,” he said.
Recently, Berrien County was listed in the top five counties in the state for heroin overdoses.
Boyce said the opioid overdose problem is not isolated to one or two areas in the county — it is seen everywhere, even in Niles.
“It is a countywide problem,” he said. “Heroin use right now — it doesn’t matter what the social status is of the community or the financial status of the community. It’s happened in just about every one of our communities.”
The Narcan kit is one method that local law enforcement is using to fight back against this growing problem.
Boyce said deputies received training on how and when to use the narcotics blocker, which is administered in the form of a nasal spray.
“We direct a small amount in their nasals and it should within a couple of minutes counter effect the reaction of opiates that they’ve taken and bring them back,” he said, comparing it to the use of an Automated External Defibrillator on a heart attack victim. “The sooner you get there, the better your success rate is going to be.”
Sheriff’s department road patrol units began carrying the Narcan kits Monday.
The department received them free of charge from Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health.