The police department of Quincy, Massachusetts, the first in the nation to require every officer on patrol to carry the opioid overdose antidote Narcan, reports a 95 percent success rate with the treatment. Quincy police have used Narcan 179 times, and reversed overdoses 170 times since 2010, CBS News reports
In the nine remaining cases, five people were already dead when police arrived, and four people had consumed other substances. Narcan, also known as naloxone, only reverses opioid overdoses. It costs $22 a dose.
Quincy police officer Ryan Donnelly, who has used Narcan to reverse eight overdoses before paramedics arrived, said, “They’re somebody’s daughter or son or father or brother or mother. That’s what clicks in your head.”
Quincy narcotics detective Patrick Glynn, who oversees the Narcan program, says the police have two doses in every cruiser. About 200 officers are trained to use Narcan. “We changed our philosophy,” Glynn said. “It’s just a simple change where we decided that we cannot arrest our way out of this epidemic.”
Narcan has been used for many years by paramedics and doctors in emergency rooms. It is administered by nasal spray. The medication blocks the ability of heroin or opioid painkillers to attach to brain cells. The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy told CBS News it is encouraging other police departments to carry Narcan.
In the past few years, Narcan has been distributed free to opioid users and their loved ones, in a growing number of sites around the country.