Amesbury and Newburyport police join an ever-growing club of area departments that have decided to carry Narcan, which is typically administered nasally, in their cruisers. Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler said recently he has decided not to follow the lead of the two department at this time.
Across the state and nationally, a spike in the number of opiate-induced overdoses has changed the discussion on whether the drug should be made available not only to police departments, but also to firefighters and private citizens. Over the last five months alone, several hundred people have died of drug overdoses across the state.
Mather said part of the training will be to ensure that the drug is never left in a non-climate-controlled environment, as sub-zero temperatures will allow the drug to freeze and intense heat will cause the drug to lose its potency. The deputy chief said he expected the certification process to be seamless, considering local police already work with EMTs on a daily basis and have already seen Narcan administered successfully.
“They should be able to pick up on this very quickly,” Mather said.
But Mather said administering Narcan is only part of the life-saving process. Almost as critical is proper ventilation as well as being 100 percent sure the victim is suffering an opiate overdose. Officers undergoing certification will learn those critical components as well.
“Narcan is a great tool, but it’s only part of the puzzle,” Mather said.
Scholtz said two officers will be certified as instructors, who will then be able to train the remaining officers within the department.