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Area law enforcement trained and equipped for opioid overdose calls

Friday, February 9, 2018
Brooke Schwieters | WEAU

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Altoona Police officers are responding to more and more opioid overdose cases, putting them at risk for exposure to fatal substances like fentanyl.

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Now, when the Altoona police department gets called, officers are prepared when responding to opioid overdoses.

That's thanks the partnership with the A.I.D.S Resource Center of Wisconsin, and it's providing of free doses of Narcan spray, and the training needed to administer it.

"When to use it, how to use it and what it actually does to the brain to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose," says Timothy Peterson, an officer with the Altoona Police Department. "In the side pouch of the AEDs that we carry, we are going to have the dose of Narcan with us."

The initiative not only helps combat the rise in opioid abuse, but it's also keeping the officers safe by providing an option in case an officer overdoses by exposure.

"We're constantly searching houses, searching vehicles, coming in contact with unknown substances," says Peterson.

The initiative by the ARCW also helps local law enforcement by relieving the high cost of the Narcan.

"The attorney general had initiated the program with Adapt Pharma where law enforcement agencies could purchase it for $75 a box, but you had to order a minimum quantity," explains Altoona Chief of Police, Jesse James. "Which was not practical for our agency to do so."

The safety of these officers is worth more than any price tag.

"It was time that we looked as an agency to first protect our officers," says James. "My main priority is to make sure that the officers get home safely every night to their families."

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