IMPD officers combating heroin overdoses by giving antidote

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – IMPD officers are being put on the front lines in the fight against heroin. Officers in the Southwest district learned how to administer an antidote called Naloxone or Narcan. Medical professionals say the drug can save lives by reversing effects of an overdose.

Heroin related deaths are on the rise in Indianapolis. There were 110 heroin related deaths in 2013, up from 77 in 2012 and 48 in 2011.

Officers will administer Naloxone by using a nasal spray. Each dose costs about $25 and is being provided by Indianapolis EMS. Police officers are being trained because they’re often the first to respond to a scene.

“What we did recognize is that time is of the essence when someone overdoses vital precious seconds are being lost, their body is not getting oxygen their brain is not getting oxygen. So we need to equip everybody who could potentially be responding to that person,” said Dan O’Donnell, IEMS Deputy Medical Director.

IEMS has been using Naloxone for years but medical officials believe putting it in the hands of police officers will save lives. Each officer that completes the training class will get a vial to keep in their patrol car.

Figures from the first three months of this year show Naloxone use by EMS is up 50%, meaning more people are overdosing on opiates like heroin.

As of right now the pilot program only includes Southwest district officers but it could be rolled out city-wide. Police departments in suburban Boston and Buffalo, New York are already00 taking similar measures.