augusta free press news

Virginia State Police equipped with NARCAN to respond to opioid overdose/exposure emergencies

virginia state policeAs of July 1, all sworn Virginia State Police personnel through the rank of first sergeant will have been trained and equipped to quickly respond to dangerous opioid exposure and overdose emergencies.

Through a grant administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), state police has purchased more than 2,100 NARCAN® dispensers for troopers, special agents, sergeants and first sergeants across the Commonwealth.

“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*,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “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.”

The state police NARCAN® dispensers and training have already saved one life in Virginia. On June 17, 2018, Virginia State Police Trooper J.A. Montgomery responded to assist local law enforcement in Lynchburg with a medical emergency. Upon arriving at the scene, the trooper encountered a deputy administering CPR to an adult female while waiting for a local EMS crew to respond. Trooper Montgomery, who had just been trained nine days earlier on the administration of his NARCAN® dispenser, immediately began to assess the woman’s condition and questioning those at the house as to the cause of her severe medical distress. Based on that critical information, he confirmed that she was suffering from an opioid-related overdose and successfully administered one naxolone dosage. CPR continued and a pulse was detected with EMS arriving moments later. The woman was transported to Lynchburg General Hospital and released from the hospital two days later.

NARCAN® Nasal Spray is an FDA-approved nasal form of naxolone, a prescription medicine. When appropriately administered, the medicine counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose. All trained state police personnel have been issued two dispensers to carry with them at all times. State police canine troopers have been issued three dispensers, for the protection of their dogs as an opioid exposure poses just as serious a threat to an animal’s safety.

The state police purchased its initial NARCAN® supply and additional inventory through a DBHDS grant of $154,800.