LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Lansing Police officers keep a watchful eye on the city. Now, they have received a special kind of weapon to fight overdoses. Police officers for the Lansing Police Department received drug auto-injectors. Their purpose is to help avoid opioid overdose deaths. Their drug naloxone which makes the auto-injector narcan, is available in drugstores but, not everyone can get their hands on it.
Opioid use is on the rise in Lansing. According to Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski, there were 28 deaths in 2015 related to heroin overdoses. The average age was around 44 years old. Chief Yankowski has seen it as young as 14 and as old as 70.
“There’s really a surge of heroin overdoses. Even though our fire departments and EMS units are normally quick to respond to the incidences. Sometimes, a matter of minutes can be the difference between life and death,” said Chief Yankowski.
Naloxone, or Narcan, is considered a life-saving drug used to immediately reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It’s available in 35 states including Michigan. To get it, you need a prescription.
Walgreens Media Relations Specialist Philip Caruso said, “you know, it’s a life saving medication that can allow a family or a caregiver to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case its needed. Ultimately, our goal here is to save lives. And this will help save lives.”
“What you’ve seen is an abundance of reliance on prescription pills and when they can no longer have access to prescription pills, they turn to heroin as that cheaper alternative because it’s more available, it’s more potent, and it’s much cheaper,” said Chief Yankowski.
If you find yourself in this situation, Chief Yankowski believes every second counts to save a life.
“They will pull (the device out) and they’re going to take the top off . . . and it kind of walks you through like an AUD, you’re going to put in the thigh and click it in,” described Chief Yankowski.
The Lansing Police Department will go through a 15 to 20 minute training period to administer the single use auto-injector. Right now, about 100 officers on patrol are able to use this life saving method.