Local police train to save lives from opioid overdoses

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A mother, like Laurie Blair keeps all of the photos she takes. Some of those pictures tell the story of a young boy, Jeremy Cooper, her son. Jeremy loved life and baseball.

“He was a lefty, so they had him pitching. He made All Stars and championships,” Blair said. “He was very good at it.”

In March, Jeremy was struggling with addiction. Newport News police called Laurie and told her in one night, they saw five drug overdoses. Jeremy was one of them.

“He was one they weren’t able to bring back,” she said. “I guess the girls that were with him, waited too long.”

It’s a similar tale across the country and in Hampton Roads. In Portsmouth last weekend, police saw six overdoses in a 12-hour span. Medics saved five of them using Narcan.

That’s why police departments are putting Narcan in the hands of their officers.

“It has become increasingly more frequent. Officers are responding to scenes before a medic does,” Det. Misty Holley with Portsmouth police said.

Monday, police from Portsmouth and Hampton trained on how to recognize the signs of an overdose. They learned how to administer a lifesaving drug: Narcan. For both departments, it’s a nasal spray.

“We can go ahead and administer that Narcan, then let medics know we’ve administered them and hopefully save their life,” Holley said.

Maybe that can save a life. Blair hopes the new training will help in the future. However, she also wants people to understand the deadly prospects of opioid abuse.

“I can’t let my son have died in vain for no reason,” she said. “If I can help one parent, prevent them from going through this kind of excruciating pain. Then I have helped.”