SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department is reporting a decrease in opiate overdoses within the region in the past year. According to a press release from the SFPD, they have teamed up with the Harm Reduction Coalition’s Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) project.
The collaboration has resulted in SFPD vehicles being equipped with lifesaving Narcan kits. Police Officers have been trained on how to recognize life threatening opioid overdoses from such drugs as heroin and prescription painkillers and administer the intranasal Naloxone as an antidote. Since the start of 2017, SFPD officers have responded to 17 incidents in which Narcan kits have been used to save the lives of those experiencing an overdose. Recent incidents include:
-On August 4 at approximately 1:14 p.m., officers assigned to “Operation Safe Muni” were monitoring the western Muni fare gates at Civic Center Station. They were approached by BART police officer who asked if they had Narcan. The BART officer explained that there was a subject around the corner who had overdosed. One of the SFPD officers retrieved a first aid kit from his patrol car. The officers noted that the victim exhibited signs of an opiate overdose and administered one dose of Naloxone to the subject. San Francisco Fire Department paramedics arrived and assumed care for the victim who began to regain consciousness. The subject was subsequently transported and treated at a local hospital.
-On May 14 at 7:18 p.m., two officers from Southern Station were dispatched to a gas station on the 1500 block of Harrison Street. Upon arrival, a 21 year-old male victim was located lying on the floor of the restroom. The officers determined that the victim was suffering from an opiate overdose. After radioing for an ambulance, an officer administered the Naloxone medication. After approximately 10 seconds, the victim took deep, labored breaths and his blue skin coloration gradually began to dissipate. He was transported to a hospital in stable condition.
-On May 16 at 1:03 a.m., Mission Station officers responded to Clinton Park on a possible overdose call. When they arrived, they found an unconscious adult male. The victim’s friend told the officers that the victim recently injected a potent amount of heroin. Officers requested an ambulance and retrieved the Narcan kit from their police cruiser. The victim’s lips were blue, his skin was pale and he exhibited shallow breathing. An officer administered one dose of Naloxone and the victim woke up almost immediately. He was transported to a hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
All of the police officers involved in the incidents are eligible for an appropriate commendation award.
The Narcan kits have become an useful tool in helping officers as first responders and in safeguarding lives. Prompt screening and assignment of 9-1-1 calls by Department of Emergency Management dispatchers and early intervention by SFPD officers equipped with Narcan kits, combined with skilled care and transport by paramedics to an emergency room all increase the chances of survival for an overdose victim.