WNPR

State Environmental Police Now Better Prepared to Combat Opioid Overdoses

Sep 8, 2016

State environmental police will now carry naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of opioid overdoses.

Kyle Overturf said he's seen naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, work.

Overturf is a colonel with the state Environmental Conservation Police. A while back, he responded to motor vehicle accident in Wethersfield. He said the driver was "definitely in an overdose. Barely breathing. Didn't know if she was going to make it or not," he said. "An auxiliary trooper arrived maybe a minute after I did, administered the Narcan, and she was revived literally within 90 seconds to two minutes."

EnCon police didn't carry naloxone then. But Overturf said that now, thanks to training from the Connecticut State Police, and kits from the Department of Public Health, all 50 EnCon officers will carry and be trained to administer the drug.

Which is important, Overturf said, since EnCon officers often patrol rural areas like state parks, waterways, and forests.

"They are remote areas," he said. "I'm not sure, you know, some of the smaller rural fire departments and ambulances, if they're carrying it or not -- but now our officers are an option to be a delivery system for that."

Thus far, Overturf said that no EnCon officer has responded to a situation where naloxone would have saved someone. But officers in isolated parts of the state will now be ready should the situation occur.

WNPR's Opioid Addiction Crisis Reporting Initiative is supported by Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network's MATCH Program.