In an effort to battle a burgeoning regional and national opiate addiction epidemic, the Sterling Heights Police Department recently equipped all officers with the opioid overdose antidote drug naloxone, known by its brand name Narcan.
When responding to a potential overdose situation, officers now equipped with naloxone will have the ability to deploy a potentially lifesaving dose of the nasal spray.
The Sterling Heights Fire Department has equipped its paramedics with naloxone for some time, but Police Chief John Berg said often police officers arrive to a scene prior to paramedics. For this reason, coupled with the growing national opiate epidemic, SHPD felt it crucial to get Narcan into the patrol cars of their officers.
“Michigan, Macomb County, and Sterling Heights have not been able to avoid this scourge, and providing our officers with this life-saving tool is a no-brainer,” Berg said. “Officers now have the ability to use naloxone if they believe someone has overdosed and possibly give that person a second chance at life.”
All Sterling Heights Police personnel have been trained on the proper use and administration of the drug. Police Captain Dale Dwojakowski said SHPD is grateful to Henry Ford Hospital Macomb Emergency Room Doctor Jerry Grieb and his generous offer to train the department on the proper use of nasal spray naloxone. The recently purchased supply of naloxone cost $40 per dose and was purchased using drug forfeiture money.
“I’m proud our Police Department is being proactive in its battle against opiate addiction and working hard to save lives,” said Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “We know that Narcan is not the solution to the problem, but it is our duty to save the lives that we can in the hopes that the user can live another day and seek help.”
At the Sept. 6 City Council meeting, Dwojakowski presented an overview to the Mayor and City Council on the subject of opiate overdoses and Narcan use.
“The notion that drug overdoses are specific to any class or demographic couldn’t be further from the truth in our current culture, Dwojakowski said. “We are seeing sons, daughters, husbands and wives from good families all fall prey to highly addictive opioid-based pain medicine like oxycodone and hydrocodone. We are deploying Narcan, but at the same time, working with many other organizations to educate and prevent people from becoming addicted to these drugs.”
SHPD would like to remind residents of the prescription drug drop box located in the lobby of the Police Station, 40333 Dodge Park Road. The purpose of the drop box is to provide a safe and anonymous way for residents to dispose of old and unused prescription drugs that are no longer needed, before they fall into the wrong hands. All residents are encouraged to go through their cabinets and remove any medicine that is no longer needed.
For more information, contact Community Relations Director Bridget Doyle at email@example.com or at (586) 446-2471.