Mayor of Fall River asks state to allow officers to carry narcan

By: Samantha Lavien

Twitter: @samanthalavien

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan is asking the state's Department of Health to allow officers in his city to carry the overdose antidote called narcan.

“Our Fall River police officers are our first responders. They are usually the first to arrive on scene when somebody dials 911 and I want them to begin carrying narcan as a life saving measure,” said Flanagan.

EMT's already carry the antidote and the police chief wants his officers to do the same.

Last year, the department received 385 phone calls for overdoses.

“It seems that other agencies are doing it and it seems like a good program,” said Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine. “I think it is the future and I think that this group coming in today the nine being sworn in today it'll be the norm for them.”

The request comes amid a large increase of heroin overdoses in the area.. In nearby Taunton 67 have been reported so far this year. 5 people have died.

In Rhode Island, for the entire state, the number of overdose deaths from drugs in general is up to 45 this year.

Narcan is an opiate blocker which reverses the effect of drugs like heroin. A nurse at STARR Addiction Treatment thinks it's vital for police officers to carry the antidote.

“If someone overdoses in your presence and you have that and you know how to use it which is very simple to use, it can reverse the overdose and get the person breathing again within seconds,” said Susan St. Amour a nurse at STARR Addiction Treatment.

Mayor Flanagan says he's hoping for city officers to begin carrying narcan within a month or two.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014