Woodburn police officers will soon carry anti-opiate serum

Woodburn police officers will soon begin carrying an anti-opiate serum to reduce overdose deaths. Chief Jim Ferraris introduced this to the Salem Police Department in 2015 and Woodburn becomes the seventh known agency in Oregon to use Naloxone, a drug that temporarily counteracts the effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl.

“We are seeing more and more opiate overdoses and police are often helpless in trying to save victims,” Chief Ferraris said.

According to Chief Ferraris, synthetic fentanyl is also causing concern for the welfare of police. He explained that synthetic fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin, making overdosing by a police officer handling the drug a possibility.

All sworn Woodburn police officers will be trained on how to administer the nasal spray at in-service trainings in March and April.

Naloxone, a synthetic serum commercially known as Narcan, binds with opiate receptors in the brain, disrupting their connections with the opiate drug and therefore stopping the drug's effects. Woodburn police officers will administer it nasally. 

The Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, which Chief Ferraris serves on the executive board, reimburses agencies for the cost of the kits.

“Our officers will be better prepared to save lives by using Naloxone, and that makes training and equipping our officers in the use of Naloxone a major benefit to our community,” Chief Ferraris added. 

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