Benton PD unveils new kit to help with opiate overdose

Around 42,000 people across the country died from an opiate overdose last year, 30,000 from prescription drugs, the others from heroin, according to law enforcement officials.

Police officers in Benton are hoping to see those numbers reduced, and beginning Monday, the police department is unveiling a new kit officers will be equipped with to combat the problem.

These kits will contain a drug that is supposed to counteract the effects of an opiate overdose.

The Benton Police Department is now the first in the state to have the kits, produce a training video in-house, and to be certified through law enforcement standards.

Arkansas lawmakers passed the Naloxone Access Act earlier this year, giving first responders the ability to use the drug to counteract an opiate overdose. Just months later, Benton is now the first police department in the state with these kits not costing taxpayers a dime.

"Thanks to Smith Drug, they actually donated all of the Naloxone kits for our officers, so we are able to equip every single patrol officer, detective, every officer here will carry that in their car and have that lifesaving ability should the need arise," said Lt. Kevin Russell.

"We were starting to make more heroin arrests, and having been in law enforcement here for 17 years, heroin was something we maybe saw once or twice a year," added Russell. "And now just in the last couple of months, we've had five major arrests, a couple of those were dealers."

Each kit will come with gloves, hand sanitizer, a CPR mask, and one dose of Naloxone, which is given through a nasal spray.

"It helps the brain communicate with the heart and it allows them to start breathing because it knocks the receptors off that are blocking it from the heroin or other opium," said Russell.

Each officer has been trained to use the Naloxone kit, and according to Russell, if the drug is given and it ends up not being an opiate overdose, it will not harm the person.

Russell tells KATV the drug has a shelf life of about 5 years.

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