SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department partnered with the Harm Reduction Coalition’s Drug Overdose Prevention and Education project last year, according to a press release the SFPD directed San Francisco News to for information. This has led to SFPD cars being equipped with Narcan kits that can be used to save the lives of victims suffering from an opioid overdose.
The officers have been trained to recognize life threatening opioid overdoses from drugs such as heroin and pain killers. The Narcan kits administer an intranasal naloxone as an antidote. Since May 2015, officers from the Tenderloin Station have used the Narcan kits on three victims who were suffering from an opioid overdoes.
The first was on May 17 at 10:34 a.m. when two officers from the Tenderloin Station encountered an unconscious and unresponsive female on the sidewalk on Golden Gate Avenue near Hyde Street. The officers recognized the victim from a previous medical call involving an opioid overdose. An ambulance was called and a third officer responded with a Narcan kit. Once the Narcan kit was used the victim took a breath and opened her eyes. The responding paramedics stated that the victim’s symptoms were consistent with an opioid overdose and she was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment.
On July 13, at 3:07 p.m. several officers on bicycle patrol in the area of 550 Stevenson Street when a male, 48, was found unconscious on the sidewalk. The victim’s lips and fingers had bluish discoloration and his respiration was shallow, pulse was weak and was unresponsive. Two officers stayed with the victim while a third officer responded to a Public Safety Hub unit on the block of 6th Street where the officer retrieved a Narcan kit. The officer returned and applied the Narcan kit which led to the victim’s breath and pulse to appear to get stronger. He was transported to a local hospital and was later released.
The third incident occurred on July 18 at 11:52 a.m. Officers were flagged down at Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street regarding a man down on the sidewalk. The male victim, 34, had experienced a seizure and was unresponsive. An ambulance was called and the officers noted that the victim had a bluish-gray skin tone and shallow respiration. The officers used a Narcan kit and turned the care of the victim to the responding paramedics. The victim was transported to a hospital where he recovered from an opioid overdose and was later released.
Over the last year the SFPD has responded to 12 incidents where a Narcan kit was used to save the lives of victims experiencing an overdose. Officers involved in these incidents are eligible to be nominated for commendations from the San Francisco Police Commission. The Narcan kits have become a useful tool in helping officers as first responders and in safeguarding lines.
“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,” states the press release.