Another Tool To Fight The Opioid Epidemic

Benson police get training on Narcan 

There’s a new tool in the arsenal of the Benson Police Department when it comes to the fight against opioid abuse — a way to help overdose victims increase their chances of survival.

Members of the Benson Police Department were trained to carry and administer the drug commonly known as Narcan. The drug is used to reverse the effects of opioids and will now be carried by Benson P.D. officers who are up to date on the training. Above, Johnston County EMS trainer Justin Vause explains the reasons behind the Narcan. Story and photo courtesy The Daily Record

Officers in the Johnston County community have joined other members of law enforcement agencies across the state by becoming certified to carry and administer the anti-opioid drug Narcan.

Benson Police Chief Kenneth Edwards calls the training vital to the fight against overdoses and in the ongoing battle with opioid abuse.  “I think it’s going to be a huge benefit for us to have this available to us,” he said. “Obviously, we’ve had a couple of incidents here in town.”

Chief Edwards said the use of Narcan has already had an impact in Benson and looks forward to having officers in the Benson Police Department who join the efforts of other public safety agencies in the town to prevent and stop deaths related to opioids.

“The responding agencies between the fire department and rescue squads have been able to make several saves because of Narcan,” he said. “So I’m looking forward to the implementation of use by our officers.”

Chief Edwards said the use of Narcan comes as a precautionary measure for his officers, especially since its use is not among the everyday duties they are required to fulfill. Instead he sees it as a chance to better serve the public when it is needed.

“It’s not routine in as much as it’s a monthly thing where I could give you a number of times it was needed,” he said. “But we have had several incidents over the last year. It’s all about saving lives. The opportunity has presented itself and now we’ll be better equipped to handle the situations that do arise.”

Officers were schooled on the reasons behind the use, proper usage of the drug and when they should administer the drug.

The changes to department policy regarding the use of Narcan or other similar drugs was approved by the Benson Board of Commissioners on June 12, with officers who have been trained receiving training annually to be re-certified in its use.

According to class instructor Justin Vause of Johnston County EMS, officers are required to attend a two-hour course, pass an exam and be able to show their proficiency before they can carry or use Narcan.

“Narcan is already being used in several area law enforcement agencies,” he said. “Clayton, Selma and Smithfield have already began using the drug and now Benson will be able to fight opioid overdoses in an effort to prevent the loss of life unnecessarily.”