The Loudoun Sheriff’s Office on Monday announced a new pilot program to help prevent fatal opiate overdoses.
Thirty-one deputies have been trained to administer Nasal NARCAN, a form of the drug naloxone that can reverse the effects of opiates such as heroin, oxycodone and hydrocodone. The training was conducted by members of Loudoun County Fire and Rescue, under the authority of Operational Medical Director Dr. John Morgan.
Sheriff Mike Chapman said the treatment can save lives when deputies encounter overdose victims and quick action is needed.
The pilot program was launched Sheriff’s Office western service area because deputies may arrive at overdose calls before rescue crews, the agency stated.
There is a national trend to equip law enforcement officers with the medicine, which can quickly counteract the affects of heroin and other opiates. Fatal heroin overdoses have nearly tripled nationwide since 2010. In Loudoun, the number of fatal heroin overdoses increased significantly between 2013 and 2014, This year, such deaths are down by a third as efforts to curb heroin use have geared up.
The NARCAN pilot program is the latest initiative to result from the Heroin Operations Team program announced by Chapman and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) in April. The program aims to step up enforcement education and prevention though a collaboration of local, state and federal law enforcement, Loudoun County Public Schools, Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Developmental Services and other entities within the Community Services Board.