WASHINGTON — By July, all sworn Virginia State Police personnel will have access to a drug that can counteract an opioid overdose.
The state police announced Friday that all officers through the rank of first sergeant are being trained to carry and dispense the drug naloxone. The department recently purchased over 2,100 Narcan devices, which deliver the drug nasally.
The police paid for the devices with a $154,800 grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
“Equipping our uniformed and investigative personnel with Narcan dispensers was necessary due to the continued increase in heroin and opioid overdoses in recent years in Virginia,” Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent, said in a statement.
State police have been issued two dispensers to carry with them at all times, according to the statement. State police canine troopers get three dispensers to protect their dogs in case they are also exposed to opioids.
“Having this emergency treatment readily available to our personnel not only helps save the lives of Virginians, but also the lives of our first responders who are at risk of an inadvertent exposure to dangerous synthetic opioids during the course of their public safety duties,” Settle said.
The dispensers have already saved one life.
After getting training nine days earlier, Virginia State Police Trooper J.A. Montgomery was able to help Lynchburg law enforcement on June 17.
As law enforcement gave CPR to a woman, Montgomery questioned those at the house. He discovered she was suffering from an opioid-related overdose and administered naloxone, the statement said.
When emergency medical personnel arrived, they found a pulse, and the woman was transported to Lynchburg General Hospital. She was released two days later.