WACO, Texas — A Central Texas recovery group provided deputies at the McLennan County Sheriff's Office with a Narcan donation and overdose prevention training on Wednesday.
The training came as a partnership between the sheriff's office and Brazos Recovery Services, an addiction recovery center in Bosque County. The center's operations manager, Richard Bradshaw brought the department a box full of Narcan kits. He also provided a presentation to deputies about how to administer the overdose prevention drug and how one should respond if they come in contact with fentanyl.
"Anything we can do to help out the people on the front lines, we're up for it," Bradshaw said.
Between September 2020 and 2021, more than 4,900 Texas are estimated to have died from an overdose, according to provisional CDC data. Overdose deaths tied to opioids like fentanyl reached an all-time high in 2020.
Every deputy from the department is supposed to carry Narcan, or naloxone, with them. This allows law enforcement to address an overdose if medics have not yet arrived to a scene.
"We carry it in our medic packs," said Amanda Leka, a deputy in the mental health unit for the department.
Wednesday's training helped make sure deputies like Leka know the best practices for using Narcan effectively.
"We're more comfortable with the fact that we can come back and tell our guys, 'If you have to open ten packages, until the ambulance get there...do it,'" Leka said.
The sheriff's office plans to host more mental health-related training for deputies in the future. Bradshaw said working with law enforcement agencies on overdose prevention is a step towards changing the way people view addiction.
"We are definitely not at a level that would be deemed as optimal. But we are definitely making steps in the right direction," Bradshaw said.
Brazos Recovery is a male-only drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in Bosque County. You can find more about the services and resources offered by the center on its website.