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  • Last modified 5 days ago (May 17, 2018)

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Officers now carry anti-opioid spray

Staff writer

Police officers throughout the county have a new weapon in their anti-drug war chest: A drug to reverse opioid overdose.

Sheriff Rob Craft said the county was given a grant of Narcan nasal spray, which is used to save the lives of people overdosed on opioid drugs such as fentanyl. Narcan, known by the generic name of naloxone, is sold as a two-dose package of 4 mg. nasal spray.

“The last six months is when fentanyl has kind of become a law enforcement topic as far as carrying it,” Craft said. “We got some through a grant from KU Medical Center. They brought it down and delivered it to me for all law enforcement officers in the county.”

Although Craft said Marion County hasn’t had an opioid issue as seen in some metropolitan areas, it’s good for officers to have it available.

Marion police chief Tyler Mermis said Narcan was issued to officers last week.

He concurred that Marion officers have not yet had to deal with opioid overdoses.

“Hopefully we don’t see any at all,” Mermis said. “We haven’t had any in the past and hopefully we won’t see any.”

Mermis said if officers suspect an opioid overdose, they can use the nasal spray. Using it when the person is not overdosed on opioid will not harm the person.

“We haven’t had the necessity to use it, but it’s good to have it on hand if needed,” Mermis said. “The epidemic is getting worse and having this stuff, we’re hopefully going to be able to save somebody’s life from an overdose.”

Hillsboro police chief Dan Kinning said officers will be carrying Narcan as soon as they are trained how to use it.

“A large reason we got it has to do with officer exposure to drugs like fentanyl,” Kinning said. “That stuff kills quickly, and it takes very, very little to kill you. Just touch it.”

Kinning pointed out that overdose victims aren’t all drug abusers. Because it takes so little on fentanyl to cause an overdose, and because it can be absorbed through the skin, the public can easily become overdose victims.

“It’s a very powerful drug,” Kinning said.

Fentanyl is also used by people with chronic pain.

“Any time you have people with a pain problem, you’re going to have opioids,” Kinning said. “Any time someone is not taking their pain prescription correctly, you’re going to have overdoses.”

Craft said the jail also stocks Narcan in case it’s needed there.

Since July 2017, pharmacists in Kansas can dispense Narcan without a prescription to patients, bystanders, first responders, and school nurses.

Tracy Lanning, owner of Lanning Pharmacy, said the store stocks Narcan as a 4 mg-strength nasal spray.

So does Hillsboro Hometown Pharmacy.

Pharmacist Tammy Flaming said if the store doesn’t have the medication in stock, they can get it the next day.

Last modified May 17, 2018

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