Takoma Park Police tackle heroin with antidote

TAKOMA PARK, Md. (NewsChannel8) – The Takoma Park Police Department says the heroin epidemic has no boundaries.

"Heroin is a big problem,” said TPPD Chief Alan Goldberg. “It actually started up-county, in the more rural areas, than it did in the more urban areas."

Chief Goldberg is looking to train officers in the heroin antidote commonly called Narcan.

"Fire and rescue services in Montgomery County and other places have been using Narcan for years, and it is basically the nasal inhaled version of it," he said.

TPPD is looking to other police agencies, like the Anne Arundel County Police Department, where roughly 450 officers carry Narcan. AACPD was the first police agency in Maryland to get the antidote back in March.

AACPD Chief Kevin Davis said his department is often the first on a scene before other emergency responders.

"We were literally in a position where we were watching people die in front of our very eyes,” Chief Davis said. “We just think we have a moral responsibility as public safety, as first responders, to equip ourselves with tools that can save lives.”

In Anne Arundel County, there have been 205 heroin overdoses and 27 deaths so far this year. Anne Arundel County Police have saved six people using the antidote. Training takes just one hour.

"Naloxone is about a $15 prescription and police officers can keep it in their car, on their gun belt,” Chief Davis said. “It is small enough, they can keep it on a key chain as well."

Police say even if the antidote is administered to a person who isn't on heroin, the drug doesn't have any adverse effect.

In Takoma Park, Chief Goldberg says Narcan is needed now more than ever, saying, "The timing is right with the number of heroin overdoses we are seeing. I think it's time to do something.”