EFFECTIVE AID — The nasal spray version of Narcan can work in a matter of minutes to wake someone from an opioid overdose.

Cloverdale is joining a handful of towns in the county by carrying Narcan

The Cloverdale Police Department is now carrying nasal Naloxone (also known as Narcan). The department announced the shift in carrying the opioid-reversing drug in a July 15 press release.

According to interim Chief of Police Robert Stewart, the department recently took advantage of a California-based program that enables public safety agencies to receive free doses of Narcan. All officers were then trained how to administer the medication by Thomas Hinrichs, CEO of the Cloverdale Health Care District Ambulance.

According to an October panel held in Healdsburg on confronting the opioid epidemic, Sonoma County’s rate of emergency room visits for opioids is 80% higher than California as a whole (based off of information from 2017).

Cloverdale will be joining other communities in the county who have adopted the use of Narcan; other departments with the ability to use the drug include Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Healdsburg.

Narcan is a nasal spray that works to block receptors in the brain that are responding to opioids, specifically when it comes to a potential overdose.

“Originally, the focus of the program was to equip the officers with the opioid-reversing nasal spray when responding to a drug overdose calls,” Stewart said. “However, another important aspect of carrying Narcan is the potential for saving an officer’s life due to exposure.

“An accidental needle stick can cause a police officer to ingest heroin, and Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is much more powerful than heroin, comes in a powder. If that powder becomes airborne, someone who breathes it in or gets it on the skin without washing it off promptly can also overdose.”

Stewart said that the department anticipates expects to administer the medication infrequently, but that it’s “now equipped to do so when necessary.” 

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