Port Angeles police report 18th naloxone save

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Police Department used naloxone to save a woman’s life Saturday, the 18th documented “save” since the agency began carrying the heroin overdose antidote in April 2015, officials said Wednesday.

Officer Kyle Cooper was on patrol at about 1:50 a.m. Saturday when he found an 18-year-old Port Angeles woman suffering from a heroin overdose in a vehicle on West Marine Drive, Deputy Chief of Police Jason Viada said.

The unresponsive woman was slumped over, her skin was gray, her eyes were partially open and she was not breathing, Viada said.

Cooper used two doses of naloxone — one auto injector and one nasal spray — and a bag mask to save the woman’s life, Viada said.

“Other officers arrived and continued lifesaving efforts including the application of an automated external defibrillator,” Viada said in a news release.

“The patient was ultimately transported to the hospital by ambulance.”

Viada said he was unaware of the woman’s condition Wednesday.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that temporarily blocks the effects of heroin or opioid-based prescription pills.

It can prevent an overdose from becoming fatal by reversing the depression of the central nervous and respiratory systems, allowing the patient to breathe long enough for medical help to arrive.

“A 30-second lead on the firefighters can be very helpful,” Port Angeles Police Chief Brian Smith said.

Port Angeles police secured two free batches of naloxone auto injectors through a grant from the Virginia pharmaceutical company Kaléo in 2015 and 2016. The agency has since purchased naloxone nasal spray kits.

The Port Angeles Police Department is one of the few law enforcement agencies in the region to carry and administer naloxone in the field. The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Suquamish tribal police also have naloxone programs.

“We started the naloxone program in March 2015,” Smith said in a Wednesday interview.

“We are very satisfied with the results and the value in terms of harm reduction.”

The Clallam County Health and Human Services Department began providing naloxone and support to heroin addicts through its syringe exchange program in July 2015.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand grants and programs that make naloxone more available in rural areas such as the North Olympic Peninsula.

“I am very proud of our officers,” Smith said.

“Their work has helped save lives and added to meaningful harm reduction for our community. We will continue to carry and administer naloxone and will undertake other efforts that both support and protect vulnerable persons.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@ peninsuladailynews.com.