The Hampton, Va. Police Division and Sentara CarePlex Hospital are partnering to help save lives in cases of prescription opioid and heroin overdoses.

Sentara CarePlex, Hampton Police partner on Narcan

Hampton Careplex Narcan Training Group

The Hampton, Va. Police Division and Sentara CarePlex Hospital are partnering to help save lives in cases of prescription opioid and heroin overdoses.

Under a new agreement, hospital staff and Hampton EMS personnel will train 300 Hampton police officers in the use of Naloxone nasal spray and the hospital will supply officers with the spray devices to carry in the field.

“Police officers are sometimes the first to arrive when there’s an overdose,” says Betsy Lynch, director of the emergency department (ED) at Sentara CarePlex Hospital. “When a patient stops breathing, officers equipped with Naloxone are able to save a few precious minutes in reviving those patients so EMS can transport them to us alive.”

On Monday, Nov. 14, Sentara CarePlex emergency department nursing staff conducted the latest in a series of training classes at the hospital for eight Hampton Police officers who will carry Naloxone. Sixteen other officers have also been trained. About 300 Hampton officers will eventually join Hampton Fire and Rescue personnel in having the capability to save lives in the field with this overdose-reversing drug.

“We’ve had 120 drug overdose cases since January with 16 deaths,” said Terry L. Sult, chief of the Hampton Police Division. “Our officers want to be able to help save lives when minutes count.”

Sentara CarePlex Hospital’s emergency department has treated more than 400 cases of heroin, opioid and other drug overdoses in 2016 so far – 120 of them involving the Hampton Police Department.

A consortium of public and private agencies on the Peninsula has been working since April to curb the opioid epidemic and save lives in overdose cases. The group includes the Hampton Police Division, Hampton Fire and Rescue Division, Sentara CarePlex Hospital, Riverside Regional Medical Center, Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital, Newport News Police, Newport News Fire & Rescue, the Peninsula Community Services Board, the Hampton-Peninsula Public Health District, the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Heroin and opioids suppress breathing and heart function and overdoses can be fatal. Naloxone can quickly reverse the effects of an overdose by displacing the opioid in the receptors in the brain. Naloxone has minimal side effects, a low potential for abuse and is not considered dangerous if given to a person who is not overdosing.