Opioid related deaths have been on the rise nationally over the last several years, and Lawrence is not immune to the effects of the opioid epidemic.
The prevalence of opioids, specifically in powder form, creates a critical threat to anyone who may come in contact with an overdose victim, including first responders. One of the most valuable tools in combatting opioid related deaths is the drug Narcan, which is a lifesaving drug when administered in the immediate aftermath of an overdose. Beginning May 9th, 2018, the Lawrence Police Department, in conjunction with Lawrence – Douglas County Fire & Medical and DCCCA, Inc., began a phased implementation of a Narcan program to address the growing risks in our community associated with opioid use.
This collaborative effort will result in all officers with the department being trained in the coming weeks on the administration of a nasal dose of Narcan, which will be carried with the officer while on duty. The University of Kansas Health Systems has provided 160 doses of the medication, free of charge, to our department for the implementation phase of the program.
The first group of officers were trained in the administration of Narcan the morning of May 9th. Within hours of the first training session, officers responded to a residence in the 1700 block of W. 24th Street for a report of an unresponsive male. Responding officers were able to quickly identify that the 48 year old male was suffering from a drug overdose. Officers were able to administer a dose of Narcan which, coupled with a follow up dose by LDCFM, resulted in the man becoming completely alert within minutes, saving his life.
While Narcan is a valuable tool to address the symptoms of the opioid epidemic, the Lawrence Police Department is committed to working with our partnering agencies in this program to identify ways to combat opioid use, as well as get treatment to those that are addicted, with the ultimate goal being to rid our community of the disastrous effects of these powerful drugs.