A new program of the Carrboro Police Department and Orange County to prevent drug overdose deaths paid off for the first time on Monday night, as a Carrboro officer administered a drug that saved a life.
“Naloxone is, itself, and old drug, but for law enforcement use, it’s reasonably new,” said Capt. Chriis Atack of the Carrboro Police Dept. “We’ve only been carrying it since October of 2014.”
Atack told WCHL that at around 8;15 p.m. Monday, Carrboro police and EMS responded to a report of a drug overdose. A Carrboro police officer arrived first on the scene. After assessing the condition of the overdose victim and talking to a witness, the officer administered naxolone.
The person is out of the hospital and doing well, according to Atack.
Naloxone is an opiate antagonist that temporarily reverses the effects of an overdose, providing a brief window of opportunity.
“When you are overdosing on an opiate, receptors in your brain are blocked by the actual drug itself,” said Atack. “And what naloxone does is, basically, free up those receptors so that your body can continue to function and breathe. It gives you that time where you can get somebody to a medical facility.”
Atack said that, depending on the health of the patient and other factors, that “time bridge,” as he calls it, is between 30 and 60 minutes.
The Carrboro Police Department partnered with Orange County EMS and the Orange County Health Department and the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition to start an emergency naloxone program last fall.
WCHL’s Blake Hodge contributed to this story.