As Drug Overdose Deaths Rise, Law Enforcement Carries Life-Saving Drugs | Huntsville

A few months ago, the Huntsville Police began carrying Narcan with them at all times. Since then WAAY 31 has learned about it, they must have administered it at least a dozen times already.

The drug is used to reverse the effects of an overdose of narcotics, and its use can be the difference between life and death.

“Unfortunately, it is a very tragic incident that takes place at this time,” said Huntsville Police Sgt. Karl Kissich said referring to this video from Birmingham. The video shows an assistant using Narcan to save a one-year-old from a drug overdose.

“Fortunately, these MPs were equipped with the Narcan to move things in the right direction,” Kissich said.

Through their partnership with Huntsville Emergency Medical Services and the Alabama Department of Public Health, Huntsville Police began transporting Narcan in the spring. Today, at least 30 officers carry the life-saving drug with them all the time.

This includes field training officers, DUI task force officers, and northern Alabama task force members.

“These are, over and over again, the very first (officers to respond) to so many of these drug overdoses,” Kissich said. “We wanted to make sure that they are equipped and that they can quickly deploy the Narcan when absolutely necessary.”

Kissich said there are people in Huntsville who are alive now because the police were equipped with this tool.

Madison County Coroner Tyler Berryhill said someone in Madison County dies from an overdose every four to five days. Seventy percent of them involve an opioid. Typically, those who overdose are in their twenties, according to Berryhill.

The most recent overdose death was on Monday.

Berryhill said the more people who had Narcan the better.

“We are very, very grateful to have this tool in our toolbox,” Kissich said.

WAAY 31 contacted other local law enforcement agencies to see if they also had Narcan in their toolbox. Madison County Sheriff’s Office MPs don’t wear Narcan, but Morgan County Sheriff’s Office MPs do, and they’ve administered it 17 times so far this year.

Members of the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office are also transporting Narcan, and they’re about to get a new supply. HEMSI said all of its paramedics and paramedics have Narcan with them at all times and can administer it in different ways.

HEMSI said they use Narcan on someone every day, and the faster it is administered, the better off the person is likely to be.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, the following resources in Northern Alabama can help:

PARTNERSHIP FOR A DRUG-FREE COMMUNITY: 256-539-7339

NORTHERN ALABAMA COMMUNITY ACTION PARTNERSHIP: 256-355-7843

NOT ANOTHER ALABAMA: 256-384-055

SAMHSA: 844-307-1760

About Michael C. Lovelace

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