With rise in drug overdoses, Greensboro police will soon carry OD reversal drug

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Cities across the United States are finding new ways to combat an opiate epidemic gripping the country. On the front line, officers have been carrying Naloxone (NARCAN), an overdose reversal drug. Soon, the Greensboro Police Department will follow suit.

Greensboro police have seen more than 200 drug-related overdoses in 2016, compared to only 113 in 2015. The department says heroin has been a significant contribution to that 56% rise in overdoses.

Project Lazarus, a nonprofit organization trying to provide assistance to drive down the number of overdoses nationwide, supplied GPD with 300 units of NARCAN nasal spray in late October. Each car on patrol will carry two injectors.

“Officers were telling me that they were seeing too many people suffering from potentially fatal heroin overdoses, and they wanted the medication readily available to help combat the effects of the drug,” said Chief Wayne Scott. “We are thankful that Project Lazarus was able to get us such a large supply of Naloxone so quickly.”

Police will also receive training to help identify opioid-related overdoses, and how to properly administer NARCAN.

The High Point Police Department purchased 200 units of NARCAN in September 2016 for $8,836, which comes to about $44.18 per dose.

According to police records, 182 people have overdosed from opiates in 2016, compared to just 77 in 2015. That’s a 136% increase in overdoses over the past year. In High Point, six people died from overdoses in 2015, compared to nine so far in 2016.

The High Point Police Department says officers have already administered NARCAN 15 times this year since receiving the reversal drug in September.