Thomas County law enforcement equipped with opioid overdose treatment

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 13, 2019

THOMAS COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- Thomas County law enforcement is being trained and equipped with lifesaving treatment.

According to Georgia's Department of Public Health, opioid-related deaths have more than doubled since 2010, from 426 deaths to more than a thousand.

Now, training is specifically targeting those first to respond to a scene, which is typically local law enforcement.

Wednesday, deputies began training with the drug Narcan. It can reverse an opioid overdose within minutes. A local paramedic demonstrated each step for if, and when, an officer responds to an opioid overdose.

The epidemic is requiring more help than ever before and Thomas County EMS is making sure all local law enforcement has access to Narcan.

"In the last two years, we've seen a definite increase. We've had several people to die from overdose," said Lt. Tim Watkins with the Thomas County Sheriff's Office.

They say the minutes it takes for EMS to arrive could result in severe brain damage or death. The training is valuable when spotting signs of overdose and administering the proper Narcan dose.

"Putting Narcan in the sheriff cars and police cars is just a way for us to help, hopefully save somebody's life in the long run," said Tim Coram, Thomas County EMS Director.

Thomas County EMS says it plans to hold more Narcan training until each deputy is trained and equipped with a dose of Narcan.