By Elizabeth Janney, Patch Staff
Howard County police recently began carrying Narcan, which reverses effects of heroin overdoses.
Seven people have died from heroin-related deaths so far in 2015 and last week, a police officer helped prevent the number from ticking up to eight, the Howard County Police Department reports.
A police officer revived a 31-year-old woman in Elkridge who was unconscious and not breathing from a heroin overdose, police reported.
The officer administered Narcan, a nasal mist that temporarily counters the effects of opioids, according to the report.
The woman survived and was taken to a local hospital for treatment, the report said.
So far this year, there have been 15 nonfatal and seven fatal overdoses in Howard County, according to the report.
Police say that Narcan, also known as Naloxone, will help reduce the number of fatalities due to opioids. Using Narcan on someone who has not suffered an overdose does not cause any adverse effects, according to police.
Since June, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services has been training police how to identify overdoses and administer Narcan, according to officials, who said the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention funded the training.
Now, patrol officers, school resource officers, community officers and special assignment sections from the Howard County Police Department have been trained. Those who are certified are required to carry Narcan, police said.
“Police officers are often the first to arrive on the scene of a suspected overdose,” Police Chief Gary Gardner said in a statement. “Training our officers and equipping them to deliver this medication will potentially save lives.”
The Howard County officer who saved the Elkridge woman last week is not alone in demonstrating the quick effects of Narcan in the community.
In 2014, an Annapolis police officer saved a man from a suspected heroin overdose ten minutes after completing Narcan training.