SAVANNAH, GA (April 24, 2017) – The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department has saved two lives in the past six months, by administering Narcan to individuals in need.
Narcan is an opiate antidote that can reverse the effects of drug overdoses involving opioids such a heroin and fentanyl.
Metro patrol officers carry Narcan nasal spray with them. Lesli Messinger, with the Savannah Harm Reduction Coalition, coordinated training efforts and donated hundreds of Narcan nasal sprays to Metro officers in 2016. Additional units will be given to new officers and will replace used cartridges.
“We are incredibly thankful for the partnership with Ms. Messinger,” said Assistant Chief Julie Tolbert. “Due to the increase in drug overdoses we saw at the beginning of the year and the trends we’ve seen nationwide, we’re thankful our officers have this tool to help them save lives.”
Since August 2016, officers have administered Narcan six times. In two of those instances, Narcan has been used to resuscitate people who have overdosed. Messinger reiterated the importance of being prepared to fight drug overdoses. “As a mom, I lost my son. It’s a grief that no mother gets over,” she said. “When you save someone from an overdose, you’re saving a mom.”
In October 2016, APO Norman Harvey responded to a call where a woman had taken an unknown number of hydrocodone and ibuprofen tablets, and was unresponsive. When APO Harvey arrived, he immediately gave the subject a dose of Narcan. By the time the woman got to the hospital, he was awake.
In November 2016, Officer William Barnett responded to a call where a man had overdosed on heroin. When Officer Barnett arrived, he gave the man a dose of Narcan. Shortly thereafter, the man began to take breaths on their own.
Today marks the three-year anniversary of the passing of Georgia’s 911 Medical Amnesty Law. This law provides limited immunity from arrest, charge, and prosecution for possession of certain drugs and drug paraphernalia for individuals who experience a drug overdose and are in need of medical care, and for those who seek medical care in good faith for a person experiencing an overdose.