JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A nasal spray used by the Jonesboro Police Department could save lives.
The “Opioid Epidemic” is a national crisis that causes more than 115 deaths every day in the United States.
Opioids such as prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids, like fentanyl are included in this epidemic.
The Criminal Justice Institute of Arkansas got a grant through Blue Cross and Blue Shield, that allows police officers to carry a nasal spray called “Narcan.”
Thanks to this grant, every single Jonesboro Police officer now carries “Narcan” with them while on duty, which they hope will address this issue.
“Narcan” has the ability to prevent the opioids from bonding with the blood so that the body can recuperate from the drug.
Sergeant Lyle Waterworth knows the importance of officers carrying the nasal spray.
“A lot of times because officers are out on patrol they can get their quicker,” Waterworth said. “The sooner that this is administered the more likely we are able to protect the life of the person who has overdosed on the opioid.”
While the nasal spray has the ability to counteract the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose, it is not a permanent fix.
“It’s something that once we get word that they’ve had an opioid overdose," Waterworth said. “We adjust it and then we want to get them to the hospital.”
Waterworth said the Jonesboro Police Department has saved 4 or 5 lives so far with the use of the nasal spray.