More police departments see benefit of carrying Narcan

HAINES CITY, Fla. -- After recently purchasing Narcan for all its officers, Tampa police administered it to a man who overdosed early Friday morning.

It revived the man within a minute.

Whether a large or small department, more law enforcement agencies are having their officers carry Narcan.

Haines City is the latest to do so.

Chief Jim Elensky initially saw no need for his officers to carry the overdose reversal drug.

“We hadn't had any overdoses in over a year,” he explained.

His officers then dealt with four overdoses since the summer, including one at an intersection about a block from the police department.

“We had CPR in progress and the ambulance showed up and brought that person basically to life, so that's all I needed to know and see,” Elensky said.

While EMTs have carried Narcan for years, Elensky found that police often get to the scene of an overdose first.

“We're just not there to put bad guys in jail,” he said. “We're there to save lives.”

Haines City police are following Winter Haven's lead. They were the first in Polk County to start carrying the drug.

One week later, a mother overdosed in a church parking lot with her children in the car. They used Narcan to revive her.

“The kids are literally taking a back seat to their addiction,” Elensky said he’d learned after talking to medical professionals.

More police officers are being armed with Narcan in the fight against opioid abuse.

In many cases, police departments can get grants to pay for the Narcan. That's what Haines City did, so taxpayers aren't footing the bill.

Residents can also buy it over-the-counter at some major pharmacies.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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