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For the first time Florence police officers are carrying Narcan, a drug that can reverse the affects of an opioid overdose.
Every Florence police officer has the Narcan nasal spray and were recently trained on how to use it. Florence police chief, Ron Tyler, said his officers are usually the first ones on the scene of overdose calls.
"You have to weigh the options. If we don't administer it a person could die. You let a police officer administer the drug and they wake up combative, but were still saving someones life," said Tyler.
Lauderdale County Drug Task Force Director, Tim Glover, said in 2014 agents were buying heroin undercover. During that time in the matter of one week five people died of heroin overdoses within Florence city limits.
"Almost 50% of the time when we made those purchases we had drug task force agents who were handling fentanyl and fentanyl was killing people. That was an eye opening thing for us, what if one of our guys had been exposed to it and had a medical condition?," said Glover.
Tyler said that's why their officers having the Narcan is another plus, they can use it on fellow officers who come in contact with a dangerous opioid while on the job.
"It's a protection for ourselves as well," said Tyler.
Tyler said they worked with the Alabama Departments of Public and Mental Health who have supplied the department with the Narcan. For two shots of the Narcan nasal spray it costs about $75.
"They provided the Narcan doses for us. Even to the point where they say hey when you use this and you need us to refill these doses they will provide that for us," said Tyler.
Tyler said he hopes more police departments across the state will see the benefit of officers having Narcan.
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