OMAHA, Neb. — An anonymous donor gave more than $10,000 to the Omaha Police Department for 150 naloxone kits to help protect officers from accidental opioid overdose.
The donation was unveiled by police this week, the Omaha World-Herald reported Saturday.
Deputy Chief Greg Gonzalez says the kits, which are made of two-dose nasal spray, will be given to all police dog handlers and distributed among patrol officers, detectives and school resource officers.
Officers can use the spray if they suspect an opioid overdose or if their fellow officers or trained drug dogs come into contact with the powerful powdered drug fentanyl, carfentanil or heroin.
“There’s a limited number of minutes before they have brain damage,” said Ally Dering-Anderson, a clinical associate pharmacy professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “You have to stop this process immediately, and police will have in their pocket the ability to do that.”
The Nebraska State Patrol this year purchased about 100 kits for its K-9 division, investigators and crime lab unit, said Capt. Jeff Pelowski of Investigative Services.
“We have not deployed (the spray) yet, thankfully, but we know it’s here, and we’re being very cautious,” Pelowski said. “We’re trying to get ahead of this.”
Police and first responders around the country have reported accidental exposure and, in some cases, overdose after coming in contact with powerful opioids while on the job.
The caution comes as the U.S. is in the grip of an opioid epidemic. More than 33,000 people died from drug overdoses involving opioids nationwide in 2015, and preliminary data for the first three quarters of 2016 indicate that the drug overdose death rate is still increasing, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com