Monroe County sheriff’s officer-only rule ends with delivery of Naloxone

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Hours after realizing the department was running low on a life-saving drug, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office is back to running its normal policy when saving people from overdoses.

On Monday night, Sheriff Brad Swain notified his staff to only use Naloxone, or Narcan, on themselves or other public safety officers. Swain said he thought it'd take up to 48 hours to get a new batch of the drug, but 100 Narcan kits were delivered around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Swain said Monday's decision was a difficult one to make. “While we’re hardly in any shoot outs, we wear our Kevlar vests and take other precautions," he said. "At this point, having Narcan is just as important as any other life-protecting device.”

Swain's initial decision was made after checking inventory of the life-saving drug and found that there was only enough left to give one to each officer, approximately 35 overall. In recent weeks, news has come out that police across the country have needed immediate medical care after coming in contact with the powerful drug Fentanyl and other similar opioids. That news sparked Swain to see that each officer has three Narcan kits on them at all times.

"We’ve had cases where it’s taken two doses to resuscitate someone," said Swain.

With only one dose for each officer, the sheriff didn't want to see his staff save someone else and then be short one dose that could save their own life.

“They could very well give their last dose of Naloxone and then be exposed and need those themselves," Swain said.

Swain hoped the kits were just the start to the county overcoming its opioid problem. Last week, Governor Eric Holcomb announced five new opioid treatment centers would be up and running in Indiana. It includes one location in Monroe County.

“The State of Indiana is acknowledging the crisis and I’m hopeful the supply issue I’m experiencing will be resolved," Swain said. "I’m very hopeful the state will be supporting the Narcan program for police officers.”

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