LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) began distributing Narcan kits, along with tactical emergency training, to every DPS Trooper throughout the state earlier this week.
Narcan is a nasal spray that helps reverse a known or suspected opioid overdose.
“The reason why we’re getting this Narcan canisters is due to the increase in we’re seeing an increase in overdoses we’re seeing with fentanyl and opioids.”
Lieutenant Bryan Witt said Fentanyl is 80 - 100 times more powerful that morphine. In 2017, 47,000 people overdosed on some type of opioid.
“The chance of exposure when we’re dealing with these people on fentanyl is becoming greater and greater. Because not only do you have to ingest it, but you can also by holding the fentanyl in your hands with sweaty palms. You can actually get it through your pores. And experience an overdose.”
Troopers will also have to complete a one-hour online course before they can administer the medicine to someone or even to themselves.
“I think the most important reason that we’re carrying it is not only saving the lives of people we come across who has overdosed on fentanyl, but also, for our own personal use,” said Witt, “If you’re (trooper) in a vehicle looking through that vehicle and accidentally expose yourself to fentanyl, you’ll have it there on you to give to yourself once you start seeing the symptoms."
Witt explained the symptoms. “You start feeling light headed. The room may start spinning. You feel like you’re about to lose consciousness.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement and said the state of Texas is committed to the fight against the opioid epidemic and to keeping the men and women of law enforcement safe.
“These Narcan kits, along with the tactical training, are lifesaving resources that will help our law enforcement officers respond to opioid overdoses and save lives," said Abbott.
Troopers and K-9 officers will be equipped with the Narcan while on patrol. DPS says in 2018, troopers seized more than 90 pounds of fentanyl. They said that is more than 23 million lethal doses. Witt said an overdose amount is the equivalent to a few grains of table salt.