Narcan Handed Out To RI Municipal Police Depts.

Feb 16, 2016

Gov. Gina Raimondo helps hand out bags of Narcan, each containing enough individual doses of the overdose rescue drug for officers in municipal departments around the state to carry.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State police handed out supplies of Narcan, the overdose rescue drug, to municipal police departments from around Rhode Island Tuesday. Most first responders carry the drug, but not all police departments have stocked up. 

"West Greenwich? Little Compton?”

State police Col. Stephen O’Donnell and Gov. Gina Raimondo called on town police captains to come up to the podium and grab their paper bag full of Narcan. The drug has become more expensive over the past few years. But about $40,000 dollars from a settlement fund from Google has been directed to help buy these supplies.  That means that if police happen to respond to a 9 11 call first, they don’t have to lose precious minutes waiting for an ambulance.

“The value of having it at your disposal as a first responder, that one time you don’t have it, that’s five or six lives you could save," says Providence police Col. Hugh Clements.

Some municipal police departments have not been as swift to adopt Narcan. Fears about liability and concerns about a police officer’s role have played a part. 

“You know we carry so many other life saving devices, so this is only appropriate with the staggering numbers we’re dealing with in all communities, rich, poor, and otherwise," says Warwick Police Captain Joseph Coffey. 

Firefighters and emergency medical teams have been carrying Narcan for some time. This move will expand narcan to smaller towns and more rural parts of Rhode Island that may not have had easy access to the drug.