BENTON (KATV) — Benton Police Department officers saved the life of someone overdosing on heroin Sunday night and it was because of a device the department got before any other in the state.
It's called Naloxone, and it's a counter agent to opiate prescription drugs and heroin. The Benton Police Department got Naloxone in December and this was the first time they had to use it on someone.
Officers responded to a call about someone overdosing just before midnight on Sunday. The man was unresponsive and barely breathing when officers arrived.
Normally, police said they would be at the mercy of an ambulance arriving, but now, every officer has a Naloxone kit.
"It literally just sprays up their nostril," Lieutenant Terry Fuller said.
It's a spray that has the ability to save a life.
"I've been in law enforcement for a long time, and I've seen a lot of deaths from overdoses and hopefully this is going to be a game changer," Fuller said.
Lt. Fuller said when someone overdoses on opiates, their brain tells them to stop breathing, but this spray reverses that in less than five minutes.
"It knocks the opiates right off the receptors in the brain. They go back to breathing. We save their life hopefully," Fuller said.
Chief Kirk Lane said they wanted to be proactive and get Naloxone kits because of the rising opiate abuse in the state and across the nation.
He told KATV in 2014, there were more than 47,000 opiate deaths, and heroin overdose deaths have tripled in the past four years.
"We're seeing heroin come into the state very rapidly," Lane said.
Lane continued to say Arkansas has about 11 deaths per 100,000 people. However, he hopes officers having these kits in their hands will make that number drop.
"They swore an oath to protect and serve and this is a great example of protecting and serving," Lane said.
Naloxone kits run about $35 to $75 per dosage unit, and at first, they were donated to Benton PD. Now, Chief Lane said they are looking for grants to help pay for them in the future.