Kern County supervisors have allowed the Arvin Police Department to start using NARCAN, a nasal spray drug that prevents opioid overdoses.
“In (Arvin), we haven’t seen a high abundance of overdoses–but what we’re trying to do is get in front of this issue, versus get hit with this issue and have to deal with this system-wide opioid epidemic,” said Arvin Reserve Police officer Alex Ghazalpour.
All APD officers will undergo the one-hour training on how to use the life-saving drug. Within a matter of seconds to minutes after administering the spray, the person will regain consciousness. The medication is meant to be effective until paramedics arrive.
According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, opioids kill an average of 40 people in the county each year.
Back in 2016, KCSO was the fourth law enforcement agency in the state to train deputies to use NARCAN. Since then, they’ve saved seven lives.
County and city firefighters now carry NARCAN as well.
“Anybody that falls within the public safety realm within our agency will not only have NARCAN to deploy, but will also be trained in the use of NARCAN,” Ghazalpour explained.
APD’s program will also help train several neighboring agencies from other police departments, schools, and citizens.
“The excitement factor for our department is having this cross collaboration with all the other public safety agencies and our partners in the fire department,” Ghazalpour said.
APD received NARCAN as part of a $20 million state grant through the California Department of Public Health.
Ghazalpour says there is still eight million dollars left of that funding, so he hopes other agencies around the county can receive some of it.