GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids police officer who was carrying the drug known as Narcan saved an overdose patient over the Fourth of July weekend.
In the past two weeks, 120 Grand Rapids Police Department officers have taken part in a two-hour training session by Red Project — a community organization looking to promote progressive solutions to drug addiction and HIV — to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and how to administer Narcan.
Nalaxone, more commonly known as Narcan, can reverse opiate overdoses if administered quickly.
It is the first time a Grand Rapids police officer has saved a life by using Narcan. GRPD and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department are the only agencies in the county to outfit their officers with Narcan kits.
According to data available from the county medical, Kent County saw 75 opioid overdose deaths in 2014, including about 19 from heroin.
Michigan ranks 10th nationally in per capita prescription rates of opioid pain relievers. Experts say painkiller abuse often leads to heroin use. Additionally, Michigan’s rate of heroin-related overdose deaths per 100,000 residents doubled from 4.9 in 2009 to 9.8 in 2013, and the state now ranks 18th nationally in all overdose deaths.