Anderson hospital to donate overdose antidote to police

(WISH Photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — An Anderson hospital is fighting back against Madison County’s drug problem by donating Narcan to every police agency in the county.

Community Hospital Anderson will also train officers on how to use the drug, which can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department applied for a grant in January to cover the costs of Narcan, but the department didn’t get the grant. The sheriff said the county’s drug problem has skyrocketed over the past five years, and his officers aren’t carrying the antidote.

Hospital workers said the same is true for other police agencies in the county.

“We want to get to those patients who overdose — for whatever reason — as quickly as possible,” Community Hospital Nurse Holly Renz said.

Renz said the project, which will cost more $25,000, is needed. So far this year, she said Anderson Fire paramedics have already exceeded the number of doses they used in all of 2014.

Paul Brough, of Anderson, said he’s seen it save a life. It was three weeks ago when he said a family friend overdosed.

“They gave him a shot and it revived him,” Brough said. “It was amazing to see someone you thought was dead come back to life.”

Brough said it was a paramedic who used the Narcan. But next year, officers will have the drug in their cars.

“I was extremely grateful and excited,” Sheriff Scott Mellinger said of the donation. “There have been instances where if we would have had Narcan, we would have utilized it.”

Hospital workers said their goal is to have officers equipped and ready by Jan. 1. The $25,000 covers the first 500 doses, but Renz said the program is here to stay.

“Until we see the end of heroin and opioid overdoses, yes, it’s going to be permanent,” Renz said.

Officers will start training next month.

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