A Washington State Patrol (WSP) trooper helped save a driver’s life with a dose of the drug Naloxone, otherwise known by the brand name of NARCAN. The drug is used to revive individuals who have overdosed on opioids. This was the first reported use of NARCAN issued to a WSP trooper. The incident occurred shortly after noon on Saturday, August 26, at Grip Road and Mosier Road in Skagit County.
The motorist was found unconscious in the driver seat of his SUV. The driver was a suspect in an earlier hit and run collision involving a motorcycle, which occurred at southbound State Route 9 at milepost 59, which is 2 miles south of Sedro Woolley. Once the 35-year-old driver was revived, he was arrested for DUI, Hit and Run Attended, Resisting Arrest and Obstructing.
The WSP recently started issuing NARCAN to troopers in order to give them an additional tool to protect themselves and the public from the potentially deadly effects of opioids. The NARCAN allows troopers, who are often the first emergency responder on a scene, to counteract the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose. Eventually, all troopers will have NARCAN in their patrol cars.
The NARCAN is also being distributed to crime lab employees in an effort to help address the rise in cases tested at the lab due to the current epidemic of opiate overdoses. In 2016, the WSP Crime Lab handled 3,902 cases involving opioids. This was a 7% increase over 2015. The majority of opioid cases involved heroin but Fentanyl cases are on the rise. In 2015, the Crime Lab processed 19 Fentanyl cases and in 2017 forensic scientists have already processed 50 cases. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have seen an increase in accidental exposures to the opiate drug Fentanyl which can have lethal consequences if not treated immediately.
WSP employees receive training on how to recognize an overdose or accidental exposure and how to properly administer NARCAN if they encounter a situation where it could possibly save a life.
The use of Naloxone/NARCAN is controlled by the 911 Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Law (RCW 69.50.315).