The Dallas Morning News

Troopers receive training to prevent opioid deaths

- By MARK D. WILSON

The Texas Department of Public Safety on Thursday began specialize­d training to prevent opioid deaths in the field and equipping troopers with Narcan kits.

A small percentage of troopers have already received the kits — which use the drug naloxone, under the brand name Narcan, to reverse opioid overdoses — but Thursday’s rollout will include all state troopers.

“In an emergency situation, along with the proper training, Narcan provides troopers with another tool to combat opioid overdoses — a nationwide epidemic — while out in the field and waiting on emergency medical care to arrive,” the agency said in a statement. “This tool can also help save the lives of law enforcemen­t or first responders who may be exposed to a lethal levels of substances such as fentanyl on the job.”

DPS officials in 2018 seized nearly 100 pounds of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 100 times stronger than morphine. That amount of fentanyl would contain more than 23 million lethal doses.

Authoritie­s said Narcan has already proved to be an effective tool in the field. Last week, a trooper in Hidalgo County used Narcan on an person who had overdosed on the side of the road as his family was trying to take him to a hospital.

“Through decisive action, the trooper utilized his tactical emergency training to administer Narcan, which ultimately saved this individual’s life,” DPS Director Steven Mccraw said in a statement on Thursday.

Unlike other drugs, fentanyl and even more potent carfentani­l can be absorbed through the skin. Amounts as small as a grain of salt can be lethal in humans, so anyone who encounters it, especially in rural, isolated areas, faces substantia­l risk of an overdose.

“By providing every trooper with a Narcan kit, we are giving them another tool to save lives as they serve and protect their communitie­s,” Mccraw said.

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