The Florida Highway Patrol is issuing Narcan to troopers to give to overdose victims in an effort to save lives being lost to the opioid epidemic.
Troopers in Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River counties were the first members of FHP to be issued Narcan this week, due to the increasing number of overdose deaths in those counties, officials said.
Troopers in other areas of state will have Narcan by the end of February.
"The FHP is part of a concerted, collaborative effort to combat the opioid crisis, which has a far-reaching impact," Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said in a statement. "Safety for our Troopers and those we serve has been and always will be the department’s number one priority, and it’s critical that our members can safely perform their jobs to help prevent any unnecessary injuries or deaths in our state."
Naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan, is an opioid antidote first approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration to combat overdoses in the early 1970s.
Naloxone can be injected into a muscle under the skin or administered through an IV or the nasal passages.
"FHP knows firsthand the seriousness of the opioid crisis and the department is taking the necessary steps to adapt our techniques and arm our Troopers with the tools that will ensure the safety of the public and FHP," FHP Director Col. Gene S. Spaulding said. "With the rise of deaths associated with the use of Fentanyl and Carfentanil, it is important to have this antidote available to our troopers, who are often the first to arrive on scene on Florida roadways."