Barely a week after completing training to recognize opioid overdose symptoms and how to administer a lifesaving antidote, Emeryville Police Officers were put to the test.
Emeryville Police Department vehicles had just recently been equipped with doses of Naloxone, a drug proven to counteract the symptoms of an opioid overdose. Naloxone, better known by its brand name “Narcan,” is administered via a nasal spray and works by “knocking” opioids off receptors in the brain that suppress breathing during an overdose.
Days before Christmas, Emeryville Police Officers responded to areport of an unresponsive person at the Watergate complex. When the officers arrived, the subject of the call was unresponsive, had constrained breathing and a “blue” skin discoloration.
Responding Officer Jeremy McBroom recognized the symptoms as that of an opioid overdose and a friend of the subject confirmed that she had ingested opioids before becoming unresponsive.
McBroom quickly made the decision to administer Naloxone which helped stabilize the patient’s breathing. The victim was then transported by paramedics to a local hospital for emergency medical treatment.
“This incident was not only a great opportunity for our officer to put his newly learned lifesaving skills to the test,” said Emeryville Police Captain Oliver Collins, “but it was very fortunate for the victim that we had this treatment available.” Collins noted that prior to purchasing the Naloxone and equipping officers with it, they had to get their administrative procedures signed off by the County EMS Director, Dr. Karl Sporer.
According to the CDC, more than 400,000 people in the U.S. have died from opioid-related deaths between 1999 and 2017. Incidence of fatal overdoses by ingesting opioids has been increasing rapidly since 2013 driven in large part by the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl, often sourced from China or Mexico, is generally cheaper and more powerful than prescription painkillers or heroin.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams recently issued an advisory endorsing the use of Naloxone to combat the increasing incidents. The DEA issued a nationwide alert cautioning Fentanyl as a threat to our health and public safety.