SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department and the Harm Reduction Coalition Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) project have partnered for the past year in their efforts to reduce opioid overdoses from drugs that include heroine and prescription painkillers.
According to a press release from the SFPD, the collaboration has resulted in SFPD vehicles being equipped with lifesaving Narcan kits. Officers are able to administer intranasal naloxone as an antidote, which has result in three people being saved in the past 3 months through the use of Narcan Kits.
The first incident occurred on March 18 at approximately 2:06 a.m. when several officers were flagged down at 13th and Folsom Street regarding an unresponsive individual. Authorities were noted that the individual may have overdosed and they alerted dispatchers to have paramedics respond to the scene. Officer Robby Willkom utilized his Narcan kit and administered one intranasal dose of naloxone hydrochloride upon realizing that the individual was displaying signs of an opiate overdose. The subject begun to respond and was transported to a local hospital to be treated.
On May 14 at approximately 7:18 p.m. two officers from the Southern Station responded to a gas station call on the 1500 block of Harrison Street. After arriving, they found a 21 year-old male victim who was located lying on the floor of the bathroom. His face and fingertips were blue, and officers identified “track Marks” on his arm and after further examination determined the victim was likely suffering an opiate overdose. Officer Daniel Kelly gave the victim Naloxone medication after calling for an ambulance. Within 10 seconds, the victim took long labored breaths and his blue coloration slowly began to disappear.
He was taken to St. Francis Hospital where he was interviewed by both Officer Kelly and his partner, and it was concluded the victim went to the gas station bathroom to use heroin.
A third incident occurred on May 16 at 1:03 a.m., where Mission Station officers responded to Clinton Park after receiving a call of a possible overdose. Upon arrival they discovered an unconscious adult male who was with a friend who told police the victim just injected a large amount of heroin. Officers called for an ambulance and utilized the Narcan Kit from their cruiser. The victim had blue lips, his skin was pale and he displayed shallow breathing.
Officer Malek Jisrawi gave one dose of the Narcan which awoke the victim almost immediately. He was taken to the CPMC Davies Campus for further treatment and evaluation.
Since 2015, SF officers have responded to 7 incidents where Narcan Kits have been used to save lives of individuals who were experiencing an overdose. Officers in these incidents are eligible to receive an appropriate commendation award. Narcan kits have been an important tool to assist officers as first responders and save lives. Prompt screening and assignment of 911 calls by the Department of Emergency Management Dispatchers and early intervention by SFPD officers equipped with Narcan Kits with skilled care and transport paramedics to an emergency room all heighten the chances of survival for an overdose victim.