IMPD trains to use anti-overdose drug

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dozens more IMPD officers were trained and started using the heroin anti-overdose drug Narcan Tuesday.

It is part of a program that began last April in the Southwest District of Indianapolis. Now, nine months after the pilot program started it is expanding into the East District.

By next week, 200 additional officers will be carrying Narcan on the streets. The life-saving drug reverses the effects of an overdose.

“Policemen can get to your house within one to five minutes and that could be the difference between you living and dying,” Lt. Brian Churchill, IMPD East District crime strategist said.

Jamie Bender was a heroin addict for two months.

“The first time I used it I wanted to keep using,” Bender said.

Then one night she had a terrifying experience.

“Last thing I remember my parents were over me and then I was in the hospital,” Bender said.

She survived because she was administered a dose of Narcan. Now, after going to the Fairbanks Recovery Center and being nine and a half months sober, she believes officers using Narcan is a good thing.

In 2014, IMPD officers in the Southwest District administered the drug 46 times while the city saw at least 126 overdose deaths, according to IEMS. When asked why the program was not expanded sooner, Lt. Churchill said, “Everything goes through a trial and use procedure. We had to get through that. We’re there now.”

Meanwhile, IEMS said in the last three years paramedics have doubled the amount of Narcan administered to save people from overdoses. In 2014 they administered the drug 1,063 times.

IMPD hopes to eventually expand the program to all of its officers. Police officers in the Southeast District are expected to be trained by the end of March, said an IMPD spokesperson.

While Bender thinks Narcan can save lives, “You can only use the Narcan so many times before somebody’s not going to be able to get there in time and I feel going to a recovery program, any type of center is the best way to go.”

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