MILLERSVILLE, Md. - So far this year, Anne Arundel County has seen 85 heroin overdoses, a dozen of them fatal. Now, the police department says it's time for a change.
"This should be a wake up call for all of us. Not just in Anne Arundel County, but for all of Maryland and across the country," said Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman. "We have a long way to go in fighting a drug that has really taken over our communties."
The department is arming themselves with Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of a heroin overdose.
"Nothing prepared me for the absolute heartbreak of having my own son struggle with addiction. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone," said Melissa Eppinger, an area resident on hand for the announcement
Eppinger has seen first hand the effects of heroin addiction; she's lost a sister and two nephews, but she says seeing her son struggle with the drug is the hardest part.
"It's indescribable to watch your son, I mean you feel like they're literally slowly dying before you. It's like watching someone with cancer or a disease and the toll it takes on their body," she said.
Typically, emergency medical service responders are the only ones to carry Narcan, but police say because they are usually the first on the scene, having officers carry and administer it could save lives.
"The Narcan wasn't administered until they got in the ambulance, but if he was in worse shape, just that few minute gap between the officers arriving and the EMTs arriving could've meant life or death for my son," Eppinger said.
The officers started training with Narcan Monday and hope to start carrying it by the end of the week.