Highway Patrol now equipped with opioid overdose antidote
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), a division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), is now issuing Narcan to Troopers in an effort to save lives, a strategy by the agency to fight against the opioid epidemic. Naloxone, the life-saving drug commonly known by its brand name Narcan, can take just seconds to revive an overdose victim.
“The FHP is part of a concerted, collaborative effort to combat the opioid crisis, which has a far-reaching impact,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Safety for our Troopers and those we serve has been and always will be the department’s number one priority, and it’s critical that our members can safely perform their jobs to help prevent any unnecessary injuries or deaths in our state.”
This week, Troopers in Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River counties were the first members of FHP to be issued Narcan due to the increasing number of overdose deaths in those counties. Narcan will be issued to additional troopers throughout other areas of the state by the end of February.
“FHP knows firsthand the seriousness of the opioid crisis and the department is taking the necessary steps to adapt our techniques and arm our Troopers with the tools that will ensure the safety of the public and FHP,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “With the rise of deaths associated with the use of Fentanyl and Carfentanil, it is important to have this antidote available to our troopers, who are often the first to arrive on scene on Florida roadways.”
The Narcan units will assist FHP members when they encounter an overdose situation while on patrol and help protect first responders who may be accidentally exposed and overcome by the effects of dangerous opioids. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid and is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Extremely small doses of these drugs have been determined to be fatal, and even exposure from minor skin contact has been known to cause severe medical issues including death.