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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Police to be trained and equipped to deal with opioid overdoses

A Narcan kit
Fairfax County police officers will be trained to respond to opioid overdoses and will be given improved personal protective equipment and Narcan kits.

There were 113 deaths due to opioid overdoses in Fairfax County in 2017, and opioid overdoses have reached epidemic levels nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

The 500 Narcan kit to be distributed to police officers contain Narcan Nasal Spray 4mg, an FDA-approved form of naxolone, a drug that counteracts the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose.

Officers have also been given masks and eye protectors to prevent them from accidental exposure to synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl during their regular police duties. Touching or inhaling even a small amount of these substances can be fatal. Officer training will start this month.

Paramedics with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will continue to be primarily responsible to responding to overdoses, but police officers will now be equipped to assist them if needed.

Anyone can learn how to use Narcan. More than 1,300 people have taken advantage of the free one-hour Revive training sessions offered by the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board.

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