Waco Police Department now carrying 'life-saving' drug

Posted at 6:15 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 19:41:59-05

Opioid-overdose deaths continue to increase across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled since 1999.

The Waco Police Department is now using a new approach to help save lives in our community. All sworn-in personnel is carrying Narcan, an opiate antidote that quickly reverses the effects of an overdose. 

"We believe that every citizen's life is valuable and we're going to do everything we can to save you," said Sgt. Patrick Swanton, spokesperson for WPD.

Narcan is not the answer to substance abuse, but it does provide a second chance at life.

"It's not a choice to overdose, most times it's accidental," said Todd Dugas, clinical director at The Ranch at Clear Springs.

The Ranch at Clear Springs in Aquilla is a drug and alcohol rehab center offering rehabilitation in a tranquil environment.

"I've known several individuals that have been treated with Narcan multiple times," said Dugas. "After a few times, people start to realize 'I have a serious problem, I almost died.'"

With 30 years of experience in the rehabilitation field, Dugas knows law enforcement plays a crucial role in helping people who are addicted to drugs. 

"I've worked with law enforcement for years in crisis services and they're normally the first to arrive," said Dugas. "If you're in a situation where you arrive and the only thing available is CPR, it's very hard to keep someone alive."

Sgt. Swanton said this nasal spray works in just 30 seconds, making it well worth the cost of about $40 a pop.

"We don't care if you're a criminal or if you're the best citizen that we have in this community," said Sgt. Swanton. "Our job is to protect you. People make mistakes."

A needed wake-up call, that will hopefully lead those using drugs in the right direction.

"I think it gives us the opportunity of saving someone's life and later getting them the appropriate treatment," said Dugas. 

Sgt. Swanton said 300 doses of Narcan were ordered and handed out to more than 250 people within the department. 

Narcan can also be used on officers and K-9's who come in contact with opioids in the field.

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