ANNAPOLIS - An Annapolis police officer possibly saved a man from dying from heroin about 10 minutes after the officer completed training to use a chemical that can reverse the effects of an overdose.
In a release, the Annapolis Police Department touted the training the remainder of its officers will undergo by the end of the week to learn how to use Naloxone, also known as Narcan. Narcan can stop a person from dying from an overdose if caught in time. So far, 80 officers are trained to carry and administer Naloxone.
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"This is an example of priceless work done by Annapolis police officers," said Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop said in a release. "At the heart of our purpose is to protect and help people. Fortunately our officer arrived quickly and took action to help save a life."
Ofc. Justin Goods was dispatched to the unit block of Amos Garrett Boulevard Monday in response to a 911 call about a possible overdose. Goods found a 24-year-old man turning blue, not breathing and unresponsive—all symptoms of an overdose, according to the release.
Goods injected 2 mgs of Naloxone into the man’s nose. Paramedics arrived and assumed care, just as the man’s condition began improving, the release states. The man was taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center, conscious and alert, for treatment.
"I want to thank Fire Chief David Stokes and his team who provided the training to our police officers on how to administer Narcan," Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides said in the release. "This is proof of how effective partnerships within the City can save lives."
Annapolis police have responded to the 27 non-fatal heroin overdoses in 2014, according to the release. Six people died from overdosing on heroin in 2013. There was only one heroin overdose related death in 2014.
Drug abuse expert Mike Gimbel in the past has been critical of measures taken in the legislature to get the drug in the hands of parents and addicts, although he supports use of the drug by police and paramedics.
"My argument was always that it belonged in the hands of paramedics and police,” Gimbel said. “The bottom line, Narcan will bring an addict back to life but it doesn’t solve addiction.”
Maryland lawmakers in 2013 passed a law that could get parents, friends, sibling or sponsors certified to obtain and administer the drug as a prescription.
“Which is absolutely ridiculous,” Gimbel said. “It belongs in the hands of professional.
“Addicts are irresponsible,” Gimbel said. “They may have other diseases like HIV or another sexually transmitted disease. … God only know what else is wrong with them because of their health.”