St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch wants his department to be the region’s first to carry a heroin antidote, and he met this week with the National Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse to lobby for support.
He wants Dr. Dolores Gunn, the county’s public health director, to issue a prescription that would equip every patrol car with at least two doses of naloxone (Narcan) spray. Gunn did not return a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter's phone call seeking comment, but a health department spokesman issued a written statement today on her behalf.
"I believe it could prove to be a great benefit for police officers and other first responders in the field in certain situations," it read. "Accordingly, I am currently reviewing state statutes regarding the use of Narcan in the field by non-medical personnel and I am consulting with health officials in other states that have successfully developed medical protocols to allow Narcan use by police officers and other first responders."
St. Louis County averages more than one heroin overdose death a week. There have been 55 so far this year.