COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - Covington Police officers are now equipped with a new tool to combat fatal drug overdoses in the field. Starting Monday, Chief Tim Lentz says each officer has been equipped with nasal naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Opioids, a category of drugs that includes heroin and prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl, are increasingly being abused in the United States, leading to an alarming number of deaths from overdoses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were implicated in 28,647 deaths in 2014 and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 2000.
The narcotic effects of an opioid overdose can slow or stop a person's breathing. Naloxone, commonly known under the brand name Narcan, is used in the emergency treatment of opioid overdoses as an antidote to reverse these effects.
St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston personally trained each officer in the use of nasal naloxone.
"It's vital for law enforcement to have every tool possible to save lives," said Preston. "I'm very happy to provide this training and commend Chief Lentz for taking the lead in this program."
Police officers are often the first emergency responders to arrive on the scene of emergency calls for service.
"So many people fall victim to fatal drug overdoses every day. By equipping our officers with this life-saving tool, we hope that some of these victims may get a second chance at life.," said Lentz.