Carrboro Police have once again used an opioid-blocking nasal spray to save the life of an overdose victim, but questions remain about the drug involved.
Captain Chris Atack says officers responded to a report of a triple overdose on Pathway Drive late Thursday afternoon.
“One of our officers administered Naloxone to one of the three individuals,” says Atack. “The person that we administered to regained consciousness as they were transported to the ambulance to be taken to UNC for further treatment.”
This is only the second time police have used the rescue drug since officers began carrying it in October of last year.
Carrboro Town Manager David Andrews told the Board of Aldermen the drug in question was the prescription painkiller Fentanyl.
“It’s an opiate and it is about 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 15 to 20 more potent than heroin,” said Andrews.
Atack says police are still investigating the incident.
“We are investigating further because there is some question of what exactly was utilized,” says Atack. “Is there an on-going threat to the community? Is this something that’s going to be widespread? Is this an isolated incident? We have to go down that path from a preventative standpoint just to make sure if this is a new drug and we’re getting the beginning of a wave or if it’s a onetime event. We want to figure that one out.”
More broadly, Atack says opioid abuse is a growing problem.
“There’s been an awareness on law enforcement’s side that this is a real issue. What we’re finding now is the prescription pills have been cracked down on and are getting a lot more difficult to get,” says Atack. “People are actually moving from pills to other substances such as heroin, which would not be a traditional movement that you would think about, but we’re finding people are moving in that direction. We’ve got a community-wide issue of addiction and abuse and unintentional overdoses as well.”
With that in mind, Atack says anyone who suspects a friend or family member has overdosed should call 911 immediately. He says, first and foremost, officers are looking to save lives.
“Of course, our hope would be that our interactions would present the opportunity for somebody to get that help, or make the decision to change some of the things they’re doing,” says Atack. “That ultimately is the good we see coming from this, if we’re able to be part of pulling somebody back from the edge and helping them readjust and get back to rights, that’s why we’re here.”