WAUKESHA COUNTY (WITI) -- The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department has initiated a pilot Narcan program to help address the increase of drug related-overdose deaths throughout Waukesha County.
As of January 2015, each marked Sheriff’s vehicle was equipped with a kit containing the necessary drug and equipment needed to administer the Narcan.
Deputy Nathan Franzke is one of those who is now trained and ready to use Narcan to save lives.
"It's just another trained function that we have. They train us how to use it and it's just extra training and we have to bring that out to the field," Deputy Franzke said.
Heroin and prescription medications have been the number one drug threat in Waukesha County, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.
In 2012, there were 52 overdose fatalities directly related to heroin and other prescription medication.
Recognizing that fatal and non-fatal overdoses from opioids play an increasing role in the mortality and morbidity of Waukesha County residents, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department launched a prevention program using Narcan in an attempt to reverse this trend.
"This is a very difficult addiction to overcome. It is an addiction that has terribly lethal consequences. We literally have the tool that can intervene immediately so that emergency medical services can step in and we can get treatment for the individual," Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson said.
Narcan programs have been established in approximately 200 communities throughout the United States. These vital programs expand Narcan access to drug users and their loved ones by providing comprehensive training on overdose prevention, recognition, and response (including calling 911 and rescue breathing) in addition to prescribing and dispensing Narcan.
In November and December of 2014, 150 Sheriff’s deputies were trained on how to administer Narcan, which can reverse an overdose from opiates such as heroin and prescribed medications in minutes. Over the past few years, deputies have been responding to calls in which people are found unresponsive and not breathing in cars, homes and businesses. These people can now be given Narcan by rescue personnel, causing breathing to return and regain consciousness.
"The training that we got and mentally preparing yourself, I'm sure that when we go into the field for a certain call that needs the use of Narcan, I'm 100% positive that I'll know how to use it," Deputy Franzke said.
The program was initiated under the direction of Sheriff Eric Severson and coordinated by Captain Frank McElderry, Doctor Mark Schultz and Deputy James Soneberg in hopes of getting this life saving drug out into the community. The Wisconsin High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area provided the money for the initial allotment of drugs. Sheriff Severson is hoping that this program along with the proper training will help save more lives in Waukesha County.