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Rushford distributes Narcan supplies to Meriden police

November 30, 2016

It looked like a scene from a TV crime drama, but the topic could not have been more real.

A group of about 20 Meriden police officers gathered in the roll call room at police headquarters Monday for the first of several training sessions on how to administer Naloxone, or Narcan, the medication which can reverse the symptoms of an opioid related overdose.

The trainings were provided by Rushford clinician Monique Allgood, APRN, who thanked the police department for taking part in the effort to fight the ongoing epidemic in heroin and opioid abuse, which is on track to claim more than 800 overdose fatalities in Connecticut in 2016, a record.

Rushford has received state grant funding to distribute Narcan supplies to Meriden police, and this weeks training sessions were meant to help officers familiarize themselves with how to administer the drug in cases where they are the first to encounter someone in the midst of an overdose. In most cases the drug would be administered by ambulance or fire department teams, but since police often arrive at emergencies ahead of other responders, their Narcan training could make a life-saving difference, Allgood said.

Allgood showed the officers how the drug is administered like a nasal spray, and how it instantly works to reverse the symptoms of an overdose by blocking the receptors in the brain that normally accept heroin and other opioids. She told the officers that the drugs effectiveness lasts about a half hour which is why it's important to get the victim to a hospital as soon as possible even if they are responding well to the drug. She also said the drug does not have any harmful impact if it's accidentally administered to those who are not experiencing an overdose.

She said officers should store the Narcan kits safely to avoid having them leak in extreme temperatures.

"We want you to be safe too," she said.

Some officers asked if the drug has been shown to increase the chance of those who experience an overdose eventually overcoming their addiction.

"It seems like just a band-aid to me," one officer said.

Allgood said there are measures in place to help overdose victims get into treatment in most emergency rooms.

"The main message is, we can't get someone into treatment if they're dead," she said.