PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The opioid epidemic is not only an issue in Bay County or Florida but across the nation.
Narcan is now used frequently to reverse opioid overdoses.
During Thursday morning’s Panama City Beach City Council meeting, Police Chief Drew Whitman addressed the council of his agency’s need for the opioid overdose reversal medication; something they do not currently have.
According to the presentation, officers recorded 27 possible overdoses in 2019 and Narcan used for nine of those calls. Firefighters in Panama City Beach reported using Narcan 38 times in that year.
This year so far, police department records show four overdose calls, using the life-saving measure three times. While the fire department used Narcan six times so far.
In hopes to bring in the opioid antagonist, Whitman says his office has applied for the ‘HEROS’ grant; Helping Emergency Responders Obtain Help.
Whitman says they applied to get 150 Narcan units and the grant will save the city $4,500 to $7,000.
He says the Narcan will also help his officers in times of emergency as they too come in contact with dangerous drugs on different calls. He says three of his officers actually came in contact with fentanyl last year.
“They came into contact with fentanyl last year, shortness of breath, dizziness. One got sick and we took him to the hospital. This was a couple of different calls we took them to the hospital to get checked out. We want to make sure this is a tool we have so if they are shortness of breath, we can save our own officers.”
Whitman says his agency will be using a nasal spray form of Narcan and will receive the grant in late March.