Norfolk officers training to administer overdose reversal drug

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY/AP) — Norfolk police have started training their officers in the use of the overdose reversal drug, Narcan.

Every Tuesday through Thursday until June 15, officers will be trained to use Narcan, or Naloxone, in the event they come across an opioid overdose in the field.

Police in Hampton and Portsmouth have already began training officers in administering the drug. In January, a Hampton police officer saved a 25-year-old man from a suspected overdose using Naloxone.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch this week reports fentanyl-related fatalities surpassed those related to heroin and prescription painkillers last year.

Of the 1,133 people who died due to opioid overdoses in 2016, fentanyl contributed to 618 deaths. Heroin contributed to 448, and prescription opioids contributed to 469 deaths.

Rosie Hobron, a forensic epidemiologist with the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, says fentanyl is being used as a partial substitute for heroin and many people are overdosing because they don’t know what they’re buying.

It’s cheaper to get fentanyl, which is typically developed in a warehouse. Heroin requires acreage to grow the necessary poppies.

The opioid crisis was declared a Virginia public health emergency in November.