Germantown — Less than one month after Germantown police officers began carrying Narcan, it was put to good use.
A 27-year-old Hartford man became the first in the village to received the treatment, which is administered via an aerosol spray can into the nose of a person believed to be overdosed with an opiate-based drug such as heroine or morphine.
The dose was administered after police arrived on the scene shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, and recognized the signs of a possible overdose, according to police Capt. Mike Snow. The call came from employees at the Speedway gas station on County Line Road who said the man had been in the restroom for several hours.
"Upon officer arrival on the scene, they could hear the man gasping for air or vomiting and knew he was definitely in distress," Snow said. "They were able to gain entry to the bathroom and could tell right away by the man's appearance and labored breathing that it was a possible overdose of narcotics."
It was the first incident of its kind since three weeks ago when Germantown police officers were officially trained by the Germantown Fire Department in the recognition and identification of an opiate overdose and proper use of Narcan, per the 2013 Wisconsin Act 200, which allows trained police officers to administer the treatment.
If a Germantown police officer arrives first on an overdose victim that is unconscious and not responding, they can now administer this medicine before arrival of the fire department ambulance to resuscitate the victim. In this case, the man was treated and released from the hospital the same day.
"Everyone and everything in this situation worked together to save a man's life," said Fire Chief Gary Weiss. By the time the ambulance reached the hospital, Weiss said the man was awake and breathing on his own, an outcome he is not sure would have been the same without police administration of Narcan before the arrival of the fire department.
"This is a prime example of how teamwork can work together to save lives," Weiss said. "Three minutes can be the difference between brain life and brain death ... I can't say whether the result would have been the same if not for the rapid intervention by the police officer, but I can say this officer's intervention saved this man's life."
Unfortunately, the incident did not go off without a hitch, as officer Ryan Bloch was pricked with a needle the man had on him while on the scene.
"It is a stressful thing for an officer to have to go through that," Snow said, "not knowing whether the needle is shared or what its condition is."
Bloch was treated and back on duty the following day and shows no signs of concern at this point.
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