PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – In response to Gov. Rick Scott’s designating the opioid epidemic across Florida as a public health emergency, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that it’s training all deputies in the use of Narcan and equipping them with the lifesaving medication.
The sheriff’s office said the advancement will place the training and medication in the hands of every deputy to effectively treat cases of known or suspected opioid overdose.
Narcan, also known as Naloxone, reverses the narcotic effects on the brain, which causes respiratory depression or not breathing in overdose victims.
Narcan is a benign medication and does no harm to a patient if administered without the presence of opioids, while also being safe and effective in children for known or suspected opioid overdose.
The sheriff’s office said deputies will begin receiving Narcan kits, as well as the associated training, in the coming days.
While Putnam County deputies said they have not seen the rapid influx of heroin experienced by many surrounding counties, its objective is to be prepared in the event the county experiences the same issues.
Sheriff Gator DeLoach said the abuse of other opioid drugs, such as prescribed painkillers, continues to be a concern and a primary focus of the Sheriff’s Office.
“Because our Deputies are most often the first to arrive on the scene of overdose emergencies, it just makes sense to equip them with the knowledge and tools to save lives,” DeLoach said. “Several years ago we placed automated external defibrillators in every patrol vehicle and trained our deputies to use them in the cases of cardiac emergencies. With this advancement, we will now be able to use advanced medical care to save the lives of those experiencing overdose emergencies.”
The sheriff’s office said procedural guidelines will require every patient treated with Narcan by deputies to be transported to the emergency room for follow-up care. Deputies will also refer all overdose patients for substance abuse treatment.
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