Raleigh Police to carry overdose reversal drug

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Raleigh Police Department will soon have a new tool that could help officers save lives.

Raleigh City Council approved a $24,000 investment from the Controlled Substance Tax fund to buy the Department a drug called naloxone.

“We are in the business of saving lives and protecting those lives as much as possible,” said Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown.

The powerful drug can give someone who overdosed on heroin or other pain killers a second chance. It can block the effects of opioids and reverse the overdose.

“What we do is squirt it up their nose and pray that it’ll work because we’re trying to save a life,” explained Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office got 140 doses in September 2016.

“Since then we have saved two lives,” Harrison said. “I wouldn’t do it when they had the needles but when they came out with the spray, we were the first agency in the county to go for it.”

According to stats from the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, deaths involving heroin in our state jumped up 361 percent since 2011.

Harrison says he would absolutely recommend that every law enforcement agency carry it. He ordered 60 more doses this year.

“Eventually I hope I have my whole department having these in their possession,” Harrison said.

From 2015 to the end of this year, Raleigh police project to see a 190 percent increase in heroin overdoses.

They now join the more than 165 agencies in North Carolina who hope naloxone can help drop that number.

“It really is about having the opportunity to save another life,” Deck-Brown said.

She says Raleigh EMS will train all sworn officers how to use the nasal spray form of naloxone.

Up to 600 officers will carry it.

They hope to have it ready to go by October.

Click here to find a list from the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition of North Carolina agencies who carry naloxone.

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