Officers can give overdose drug

GLOVERSVILLE – The city Police Department has become the first in Fulton County to have the entire police force certified to administer a drug that can stop an opioid overdose from becoming fatal.

Police Chief Donald VanDeusen said every officer in the department has undergone training to administer naloxone.

In June 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation that made the anti-overdose drug naloxone, known commercially as Narcan, available to police and other first responders in the state. The drug can prevent overdose deaths related to the use of opiates, including heroin, hydrocodone and oxycodone.

VanDeusen said all officers will carry Narcan and have been trained to use the medication in the field. The idea for getting the certification was to ensure that if a police officer was the first responder to arrive at the scene of an overdose, he or she would have the tools necessary to administer the medication instead of having to wait for EMS personnel to arrive, VanDeusen said.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus, naloxone can be given through an injection or by using a nasal spray. It works by blocking the effects of opiates to relieve dangerous symptoms caused by high levels of opiates in the blood.

Naloxone is also given to people after surgery to reverse the effects of opiates given during surgery. The drug also can be used to decrease opiate effects on newborns.

Some forms of the injectable drug include an electronic voice system that provides step-by-step directions on how to give the drug.

The law Cuomo signed also gives “Good Samaritan” status to people who administer an opioid antagonist such as naloxone. Someone who gives the drug to an overdose victim will face no charges for providing it.

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