LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — As the fentanyl crisis continues, law enforcement’s response to overdoses involves carrying Narcan and other protective equipment.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office says they prepare their deputies to handle cases with an overdose as quickly and carefully as possible just in case they come in contact with fentanyl.
Lieutenant Karry Falcon and Valerie Ponseti with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office said over the last six years, their deputies have seen an increase in overdoses where fentanyl is present.
Ponseti says since 2017, LPSO has responded to 153 overdoses, with nine of them resulting in death and two deputies being exposed to fentanyl. Because of this, she says LPSO is taking the necessary steps to make sure their deputies are safe by preparing them with training and equipment.
Falcon, who is a national registry medic, says before deputies get on the road, they are required to take a class where they are taught how to respond to overdose situations.
“Each deputy that comes through our agency from the moment they’re going on as a road cop of any sort, they come through a class with me or one of my guys that is certified to teach us, so to speak,” said Falcon.
He says the sheriff’s office is equipped with doses of Naloxone or Narcan, which deputies are instructed to provide as many as needed.
“If they suspect it to be fentanyl, as we said already that fentanyl is basically more potent. It has a higher level. You’re going to need more Naloxone or Narcan. So they can do a second dosage, they can do a third dosage, a fourth dosage. There’s no such thing as too much at that point,” said Falcon.
In addition to carrying the Naloxone, deputies are also required to carry fentanyl grade gloves which are thicker than regular latex gloves, and glasses when they arrive on the scene.
Deputies also have a kit that they carry in their car, which is what they call an overdose kit. So, the Naloxone is always on hand in some fashion for the deputies.
“If a deputy comes into contact with it, you know, they have that dose there if they need it for themselves and for their safety,” said Ponseti
The sheriff’s officer urges anyone who suspects or witnesses an overdose happening, to reach out to their office as there will be no repercussion for helping. They say when a person’s life is on the line, the priority is to help keep them alive.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 337-232-9211 or 911 for emergencies.