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Deputies receive training in opioid overdoses

Staff Reports • May 4, 2017 at 12:52 PM

In an effort to prevent accidental overdoses from opiate-based drugs, deputies from the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office began training in administering Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan.

Narcan is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdoses. Narcan temporarily reverses the depression of the respiratory system to allow the person to breathe more effectively.

The sheriff’s office is fully committed to deterring and preventing drug sales throughout the county. Due to the rise of heroin, carfentanil and opioids in general, the use of Narcan is a necessary step for the protection of deputies and citizens of Wilson County.

Narcan kits can be administered to someone prior to the arrival of emergency personnel and could save lives.

Carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds are a serious danger to public safety, first responders and laboratory personnel. These substances can come in several forms, including powder, blotter paper, tablets and spray. They can be absorbed through the skin or accidental inhalation of airborne powder, which poses a dangerous health risk to officers and investigators who come into contact with carfentanil through traffic stops, drug investigations and other scenarios.

Symptoms from carfentanil have included, but are not limited to, respiratory depression or arrest, drowsiness, disorientation, sedation, pinpoint pupils and clammy skin.

“Carfentanil is surfacing throughout the country, and we have had cases here in Wilson County. Synthetics such as this can kill you,” said Sheriff Robert Bryan.

“We are seeing it on the streets, often disguised as heroin or mixed with heroin. We have seen an increase in overdoses in this county, and what is more alarming is the number of individuals battling addiction from the younger generation. Law enforcement and emergency personnel have remarkably difficult jobs, and we are going to train extensively to insure the safety and welfare for each officer as they come into contact with these dangerous drugs.”

Currently, deputies have access to the kits in their patrol units throughout the county. Due to the high cost of each kit, the sheriff’s office is pursuing grants to spread the program throughout the entire department.

Under a new policy, deputies who have completed the training can administer Narcan to someone who has overdosed on opioids and is in respiratory distress. Deputies are trained to deliver the drug through the nostrils using an atomizer attachment.

As situations arise for the use of Narcan, it will be a useful tool to potentially save lives, Bryan said.

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