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Lafayette health officials and law enforcement working to combat opioid overdoses

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Lafayette health officials and law enforcement working to combat opioid overdoses

Lafayette, La (KADN)- Though parish data shows a roughly ten percent decrease in opioid-related deaths, Dr. Tina Stefanski, Regional Medical Director for Louisiana Department of Health says time is of the essence when dealing with someone overdosing.

"Survival greatly depends on reversing that overdose as soon as possible to restore oxygen getting to that person's brain to avoid. You know damage to their brain and death," explains Dr. Stefanski.

Opioid Prevention Outreach Coordinator for our region, Stacy Conrad, says police officers and firefighters are usually first on the scene of an overdose, which is why they started giving Narcan to a limited number of patrol officers.

"We identified somewhere near the middle of July, having just those few minutes could save a life. They are able to initiate that recovery than the ambulance," says Conrad.

"It's been really positive."

Sgt. Robin Green says in the last few months the department has found itself having the need for Narcan frequently to prevent people from

dying. "The longer you wait, the harder it is for someone to come back off the effects. We have been really successful using it and reversing the signs of an overdose."

Sometimes it may even require more than one dose.

"Some people may need a little more than others and so it will require us to use another dosage of it," says Sgt. Green.

Though this is not a substitute for emergency care, Sgt. Green is confident that every patrol officer carrying Narcan will result in

Fewer overdose deaths. "Time is the key factor here when we get here. You have it in your unit ready to go."

Sgt. Green says Narcan protects the victims as well as the officers. Louisiana also has a standing order that anybody can purchase Narcan at a pharmacy in the state, as most insurers will pay for it.

Dr. Stenfanski also suggests that families dealing with a loved one recovering from drug addiction have Narcan handy in case a relapse occurs.

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