August 16, 2018 at 3:05 p.m.
Sheriff deputies and police will carry the sealed nasal spray bottles in thermal containers as the medicine is susceptible to degrade in high heat or in very cold temps. Law enforcement patrol cars also stock sealed ventilator equipment, oxygen tanks and air bags in which will be used to maintain breathing for the recovering overdose victim until medical treatment can be provided.
Chisago County Sheriff’s Captain Andy Mahowald said the Narcan training ran four hours and was provided cooperatively with Lakes Region EMS, serving as the sheriff department’s “medical director” for legal purposes. Lakes Region has carried Narcan in ambulances, but this marks the first time the product is carried by law enforcement.
Lakes Area officers have also been trained and certified and cary doses, according to Chief Bill Schlumbohm, who has budgeted for an estimated 13 doses in next year’s department expenses. Each nasal spray container and equipment use runs about $119.
Those in training got comfortable with how through-the-nose dosing of Narcan is administered and what’s required in follow-up care. Captain Mahowald, who is a drug Recognition Expert (DRE) for departments in this area, said there are breathing /rescue techniques the officers must know and they also learned how to assess situations for their special challenges.
Often, when people are coming to after Narcan has successfully interrupted the body’s opioid receptors, the patient will become combative and disoriented. And, there are times when more than one dose is needed as well.
The best thing about the sheriff and local law enforcement having access to Narcan is efficient delivery of the antidote is now possible. “Our deputies beat the ambulance to the scene almost every time,” Mahowald said. “It’s very important that we have the ability to be administering Narcan, this provides significantly better odds,” to the overdose victim.
People are encouraged to act quickly and contact law enforcement and emergency responders if they suspect an opioid overdose.
Minnesota is one of 40 states with immunity laws in place to offer protection from arrest or prosecution, of someone who is reporting an overdose or is experiencing an overdose themselves.
The laws require you to remain at the scene and cooperate with authorities.
If you would like to learn more about all the Chisago County Sheriff’s department provides, the annual Open House is Sunday, August 26.
The new sheriff’s headquarters are co-located at the jail and communications center, east of downtown Center City, on the north side of Hwy 8.
Many vehicles, like the SWAT unit, water patrol and other divisions are on display and tours are being provided of the new county Public Safety Center and more, from 2 to 5 p.m. This is an annual event and is free and open to the public.