Bellevue police now are equipped with Narcan — a drug that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose, according to the city of Bellevue.
Seattle and King County Public Health said In 2018 Narcan was used to reverse about 5,000 overdoses in King County. In the last two years, King County has seen a 35-percent increase in drug overdose deaths.
In Bellevue in 2018 there was a total of eight deaths because of overdose. In 2019, to date, there have been 10 overdose deaths.
Most recently the deaths of three county high school students have shed light on the risk of accidental fentanyl overdose. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and cheaper than many drugs.
Counterfeit drugs, bought on the streets or online, can have an unknown amount of the deadly synthetic opioid.
“There’s no question Narcan saves lives,” said Assistant Police Chief Patrick Arpin in a news release. “Our fire department has carried Narcan for years since they are traditionally the first medical emergency responders on scene, but with the increase in the number of drug cases our officers are seeing, Narcan is now a necessary tool for us to better protect the public.”
And as police respond to more drug calls, that means there’s a higher chance of officers being accidentally exposed to substances. Narcan is a protective measure for officers as well.