Tisbury police officers are now trained and equipped to administer the drug naloxone, also known as Narcan, which is used to counteract the effects of overdoses from opiates, including morphine, heroin, fentanyl, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percocet, Percodan, and hydrocodone.
“Starting today, Narcan is being deployed with all of our police officers when they’re on duty,” Lieutenant Eerik Meisner told The Times in a phone call Monday. He said the Tisbury Police Department started the process to get approval to use Narcan before the summer and it took months to complete the requirements, which included an agreement with Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
Police officers were required to attend a training session, conducted by Tisbury emergency medical services director Tracey Jones, a few months ago.
“It’s actually administered with a syringe through an atomizer into the person’s nose; there are no needles involved,” Lt. Meisner said.
The Narcan has been added to equipment police officers carry in their patrol bags.
“We felt it was important because police officers are the ones out patrolling 24/7, and are usually able to get to calls faster than an ambulance, which is coming from their facility,” Lt. Meisner said. “Seconds count; people who are using these drugs illicitly could easily have a medical issue with a prescription they were given.”
The state’s fiscal year 2015 budget includes $1 million for an increase in access to naloxone. Six Islanders have died of opiate overdose since August 2013, according to Dr. Charles Silberstein, psychiatrist and addiction specialist at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, as previously reported. On October 1, Oak Bluffs EMTs used Narcan to resuscitate an Eastville man who had overdosed.