LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Officers throughout Kentuckiana are preparing themselves as they are some of the first to encounter drug overdoses.
As confirmed tainted heroin has been linked to dozens of overdoses in our area, we're seeing the preparedness through the eyes of the Hillview Kentucky Police Department in Bullitt County.
Each officer has multiple doses of naloxone available. Police Chief Bill Mahoney says since January, 35 calls have been made related to drug overdoses, 16 have required the usage of naloxone.
He says his officers have saved all 16 of those lives once they arrived at those scenes, thanks in part to extra training.
Officers never leave their station without everything that's on their belt, but in Hillview, the black backpacks are just as important.
Chief Bill Mahoney states, “Being a police officer is not just about writing tickets and taking people to jail, it’s about helping people with whatever problem they may have and that includes medical problems."
The Chief says since the passing of House Bill 192, all 15 of his officers can administer naloxone.
The Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition reached out to train the entire department as Mahoney adds, “It was an easy decision to make, why would we not carry something in our car that could help save somebody's life?"
“The few times we've went on OD runs without the naloxone, we're standing there and the family is wanting help from us and other than breathing for their family members that's laying there on the floor dying, there ain't nothing else we can do for that person,” Officer Chris Boone said.
He tells us he's administered naloxone more than 10 times so far this year, he describes one encounter, “She overdosed on us a while back and she had probably been down about five or six minutes before we got there and she was as blue as I'd ever seen anybody be blue before.”
The tainted heroin, Officer Boone says has increased overdose runs, saying this even more deadly drug knows absolutely no bounds.
He says many are needing multiple Narcan doses due to the strength of the drug.
“The fentanyl drug is trans-dermal so if we touch that person or if their family member touches that person, they've absorbed that drug into their skin, just by touching their loved one trying to save them,” Boone explains.
Their badge still means to protect and serve, but now Hillview PD is able to add more one way of keeping its community safe.
Since the passage of House Bill 192 which allows officers to carry naloxone in their squad cars, Chief Mahoney says it has made a big difference.
But he cannot stress the importance of getting help for addiction and families being just as prepared as officers.
For more information on free training session for naloxone use, click the following: https://kyhrc.org/