FLINT TWP. — Township police officers are now better equipped to handle opioids overdosers, thanks to a special kit being carried in patrol cars, said Police Chief George Sippert, in a report to the township board last week.
“Beginning at the first of this year, we implemented an opioids prevention program,” Chief Sippert said.
About 80 percent of officers have completed training to use the Narcan emergency kits. Narcan (naloxone) is a prescription drug that reverses opioid overdose by helping the victim to breath.
A national opioid epidemic and overdoses also is impacting the local community, Chief Sippert said. Last year, his officers responded to 18 overdose incidents. Sixteen of those resulted in deaths at which the victim either died at the scene or was already deceased when officers arrived.
Police usually are the first responders to an overdose call and until now could do very little to help victims. Use of Narcan by officers nationwide has shown ability to save lives by keeping a victim alive until medical personnel arrives, Chief Sippert said.
Each kit contains two doses and rubber gloves. The officer administers the drug into the nasal cavity. All township officers are being trained to do so.
“Hopefully, in the coming year, there won’t be 16 deaths or we will reduce some of them,” Chief Sippert said.
Michigan Legislative Act 462 of 2014, in effect since January of 2015, allows law enforcement officers to carry and administer opioid antagonists and also limits the civil and criminal liability for them to posses, distribute, and use the medication, under certain circumstances.
The State of Michigan Narcan Protocol also requires that the medication must be carried in a locked compartment in patrol cars.