SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- The Springfield Police Department have another tool at their disposal to help save lives. Officers will begin carrying Narcan, a substance in the form of a nasal spray to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Narcan helped save one woman, Adrienne Laswell, who is in an outpatient program at a sober living house. The future is looking up for Laswell but there were some obstacles she had to overcome first.
“I’ve had a couple of experiences with Narcan. Thank goodness I had friends out there that had access to it and used it on me and brought me back. People should not be afraid to use it, and don’t be afraid to call 911,” said Laswell.
Paramedics have been using Narcan for years and Mercy’s Medical Director for EMS, Dr. Tom Lewis says Narcan is something they administer often.
“They run on these overdoses about 30 to 35 a month. But at times, there are scenarios in which that scene is too dangerous for those providers to enter. Having that tool for the police department gives us another level to take care of our public,” said Dr. Lewis.
In many cases, police are the first ones on the scene, not the paramedics.
“Both fire and police are arriving at some of these crucial medical scenes two to six minutes before an ambulance will,” said Dr. Lewis. “When somebody isn’t breathing, seconds make a difference of brain tissue, and their ability to survive and be a normal functioning person in society again.”
And without the help of Narcan, Laswell would have missed out on more than just her own life.
“I would’ve left behind a 2-and-a-half-year-old son who would never have known his mom. It put a new perspective on my life, it helped put things in motion for me to go detox, get into treatment. it saves lives. I give people an opportunity. A second chance,” said Laswell.
Narcan is being provided by the Springfield Greene-County Health Department all thanks to a grant which also includes tourniquets for every officer to help stop bleeding in emergency medical situations until paramedics can arrive.