TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Florida Highway Patrol announced Wednesday that it is now issuing NARCAN to troopers.
Officials say they hope giving troopers naloxone, better known by its brand name NARCAN, will help save lives in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The medicine takes just a few seconds to revive an overdose victim.
“The FHP is part of a concerted, collaborative effort to combat the opioid crisis, which has a far-reaching impact,” Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said. “Safety for our Troopers and those we serve has been and always will be the department’s number one priority, and it’s critical that our members can safely perform their jobs to help prevent any unnecessary injuries or deaths in our state.”
This week troopers in Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River Counties were the first members of FHP to be issued NARCAN due to the increasing number of overdose deaths in those counties. Officials say all troopers will carry NARCAN by the end of February.
“FHP knows firsthand the seriousness of the opioid crisis and the department is taking the necessary steps to adapt our techniques and arm our Troopers with the tools that will ensure the safety of the public and FHP,” Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, said. “With the rise of deaths associated with the use of Fentanyl and Carfentanil, it is important to have this antidote available to our troopers, who are often the first to arrive on scene on Florida roadways.”
Officials say the NARCAN units will assist FHP troopers at an overdose situation while on patrol. They say Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. They also say Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid and is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Extremely small doses of these drugs can be fatal, and even exposure from minor skin contact has been known to cause severe medical issues, including death.