LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- As opioid abuse grows across the country and here in Arkansas, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department is joining other agencies nationwide to save lives.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury and death in the United States. Pulaski County Deputies are now trained on how to administer a drug, Narcan, to stop that. In one month, they have already saved two lives.
“It’s been a rash of deaths and overdoses nationally and some locally,” said Lt. Cody Burk.
According to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office Arkansas has the 25th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the U.S.
“Can be things like prescription drugs and can also be heroin and oxycodone,” he said.
Narcan, also known as Naloxone, is a drug used to reverse the effects of opioid abuse.
“They're not going to be responsive. They're going to be limp on the floor or in a chair,” said Burk describing what officers can expect when they arrive to a suspected overdose situation.
He said back in January the department experienced an incident where a couple was found overdosed on heroin with a child in the back seat.
“If they (opioids) are abused or overdosed, they'll cause a person to pass out. Their breathing may come to a stop and their eyes may be pinpointed. We've taught our deputies to recognize those symptoms,” Burk said.
They didn't need Narcan then, but wanted to make sure they had it for the future. Police said one person tried to commit suicide by ingesting fentanyl and another was found unresponsive in the backseat of a patrol unit, both this this month.
“It’s kind of like a syringe without the needle on it. You insert it in the nose and spray it, like a flu vaccination,” added Burk.
Benton Police were the first officers trained on how to administer Narcan in overdose situations. It's recommended that only health care professionals, first responders, and law enforcement officers dispense the drug.