Officers with the Newport Police Department (NPD) will now carry the life-saving medication Narcan in their patrol cars. Narcan reduces the effects of opioids and can prevent a fatal opioid overdose.
This initiative was brought to the community’s attention by Vanessa Falwell, a family practitioner at Tuckerman Medical Clinic. It has been successfully implemented in surrounding counties and lives have been saved because the drug was available and administered correctly by first responders. Vanessa consulted with NPD Fire Chief Allen Edwards who was eager to work with her. “Misuse and abuse of opioids is a wide-spread problem, not only in our community, but across our nation”, states Edwards. “Yes, there are overdoses by addicts, but there are also cases of pills falling into the hands of children, elderly people taking the wrong dosage, and first responders being exposed to narcotics such as fentanyl during their duties. Our department is very appreciative that Ms. Falwell recognized this need and worked hard to meet it.”
Funding for the medication will be provided by Merchants and Planters Bank.
“We are a community bank, and that means we have an important role in caring for and bettering the communities we serve,” states Jim Gowen, Jr., president and CEO of Merchants and Planters Bank. “The opioid epidemic has and will continue to affect our community, so we are proud to be able to do our part to help prevent opioid-related deaths.”
Falwell recently trained Newport Police officers on how to properly administer Narcan. She hopes to extend the project in the future to include all first responders in Jackson County.