VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (WAVY) – First responders can often be the difference between life and death, but when it came to overdoses, not much could be done… until recently.
The game-changer is Naloxone. All it takes is two minutes, and an overdose can be reversed.
10 On Your Side spoke with Virginia Beach EMS and Virginia Beach police, who say they have administered Nalaxone, or NARCAN, 242 times this year.
“This was something that I felt that this department needed for a long time,” said Officer David Blount with Virginia Beach Police.
The police department began carrying NARCAN in March. They’ve had 29 saves in a year that’s already seen more than 200 overdoses. Given that officers are often the first ones on a scene, they say carrying the drug is a huge advantage for the community.
Officer Blount said, “Each year it’s increasing. That’s one of the reasons we have this.”
There have been 43 fatalities where the drug was not administered quickly enough to reverse the overdose.
Virginia Beach EMS has been carrying NARCAN since the 1970s, but only highly-trained EMTs were able to use the drug. Now that it’s a nasal spray, first responders across departments are able to use it.
“That way, regardless of who’s on the scene, they can still give the medication,” said Captain Tyler Kerr, with Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services.
That means, between police, EMTs and firefighters, there are at least 1,700 people ready to help.
“That’s our job. To help people first and foremost,” said Officer Blount.
The community can also get involved by taking a class called “Revive” to learn how to administer NARCAN. First responders say people may not know how many different types of overdoses can be reversed by NARCAN.
“This happens in all walks of life, all neighborhoods. It’s not just heroin and fentanyl. It’s prescription meds, accidental overdoses, deliberate overdoses. Elderly persons that maybe take too much,” said Captain Kerr.
Each officer in the Virginia Beach Police force carries a Revive kit with them. Plus, all of the ambulances in the EMS department have them inside.
“Our main goal is to save lives. And this is just another tool in our tool belt to help us do so,” said Officer Blount.
For more information on the Revive class, call 757-385-0800.