SF police to carry life-saving antidote for drug overdoses

Police working the eastern districts of San Francisco will now have access to an emergency antidote for opiate-related drug overdoses, Lt. Michael Nevin said Wednesday.

Officers at the Tenderloin, Southern, Northern, Central and Mission stations have been trained to administer naloxone, also known under the brand name Narcan, to people who display signs and symptoms of an opioid-related drug overdose, Nevin said.

The number of prescription opioid painkiller deaths in San Francisco has surpassed heroin-related deaths. That prompted police to train officers to administer the intranasal drug through a pilot program with the Department of Public Health, a police statement said.

Eliza Wheeler of the DOPE Project, which distributes the antidote and helped train Police Department officers on how to use it, said her group saved 300 lives last year alone.

In the event of an overdose, an officer would take the drug from a department-issued medical kit, untwist a cap, insert the medication into a vial and administer it through a nostril, Nevin said.

For officers who missed the training courses, instruction will continue to be offered as advanced first aid training at the police academy.

The move means the Police Department joins hundreds of other law enforcement agencies nationwide that have implemented use of the life-saving naloxone, Nevin said.

The Fire Department already uses the antidote on its ambulances.

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