Officers in Cottonwood Heights now carrying drug to reverse effects of overdose

Posted at 4:39 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 18:39:00-04

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Twenty police officers in Cottonwood Heights will now have an extra piece of equipment to carry that could save lives.

Officers are now equipped with naloxone dispensers, and the drug can reverse the effects of heroin overdoses.

Naloxone has been called the "Lazarus drug" because according to those who've used it, it has the ability to bring people back from the brink of death if they've overdosed.

“The second you suspect somebody is overdosed, that's the time to get naloxone,” said Doctor Jennifer Plumb of the University of Utah’s Department of Pediatrics.

A tiny bit of mist may be all it takes to reverse respiratory failure due to an overdose of heroin or prescription drugs.

“Any opiate, so oxycodones, hydrocodones, fentanyls, morphines,” Plumb said.

In 2014, Utah law allowed for the distribution of naloxone, and Friday the Cottonwood Heights Police Department became the first agency to put it in the hands of officers.

“Police officers are usually the first person on scene, and the first person who can give emergency first aid,” said Sgt. Ryan Shosted of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. “...Right now we have 20 officers trained, and next week we plan to have the rest of our officers trained."

The form of the drug Cottonwood Heights PD is using is a simple nasal spray device.

“It's as simple as pulling off the back, placing it in the nose, and depressing this little plunger,” Plumb said. “When they do that [a dose] of the medication will come out."

Twenty officers have naloxone, and they're already out on patrol Friday.

The public can also get naloxone, which is available in various forms. Click here for details.

While exact numbers on naloxone use are hard to come by, the University of Utah says they’ve distributed numerous doses and 49 people have reported back and stated they had used the drug to save a life.