PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - New data from the Arizona Department of Health Services shows Phoenix police can tap the state agency to easily furnish the entire department with Narcan, the overdose-reversal drug.
In recent months, the Phoenix Police Department has identified hurdles the agency would have to overcome to expand its Narcan program including maintaining staffing levels while training officers and managing Narcan supplies which can expire.
The department had also suggested it would have challenges finding a free supply large enough to equip all of their patrol officers with Narcan.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has grants available for free law enforcement Narcan. Arizona’s Family asked AZDHS how many naloxone kits it could provide. The agency said it has enough funding through September to provide 8,000 naloxone kits.
“It’s more than what they need. There’s no excuse for it,” says Michelle Hamby, a Valley mom who has been pushing Phoenix Police to provide Narcan to patrol officers.
Hamby has lost two kids to opioid overdoses.
“They’re my inspiration,” says Hamby.
The Phoenix Police Department agreed to an interview Tuesday reiterating the obstacles to expanding their Narcan program, but saying civilians should rest assured, they’re working on it.
“So it is possible and it’s happening,” says Sgt. Vince Lewis with the Phoenix Police Department. “We are working on the details now.”
Sgt. Lewis stressed expanding the department’s Narcan program would happen in phases and would begin with the department identifying funding options for supply like AZDHS. He says once the department obtains Narcan supplies, its intended use will be to treat other officers in cases of accidental exposure to opioids.
Right now, a limited number of officers carry Narcan including drug enforcement investigators.
“If the product were to show up on our doorstep tomorrow, we would still have to work out the logistics of getting the training,” says Sgt. Lewis. “To get all of our patrol officers, first responders through training takes a few months.”
For Hamby, that’s not enough. She wants officers to be able to use Narcan to treat anyone, including civilians, if they’re overdosing.
“I definitely have not hit a dead end,” says Hamby. “I won’t stop until I have Narcan in their hands.”
On Wednesday, after Arizona's Family aired this story, the Phoenix Police Department said it has applied for a grant to obtain Narcan.
[SPECIAL SECTION: The Fentanyl Crisis]