In the midst of the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic that's sweeping the country a local police department is doing what it can to ensure its detectives and canines stay safe in the line of duty.
On Tuesday, the Hartford Police Department received Narcan kits that can be used on dogs, in the event of a medical emergency.
Some police dogs are trained to sniff for drugs and there's always a chance they could ingest something they're not supposed to, and the kits could save their life.
"We want to get our user population protected, we also want our detectives and our canines protected,” said Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley.
He said detectives within the department asked if they could get Narcan kits, not only to protect themselves, but also their canine counterparts.
"We've seen some incidents nationally where dogs have actually overdosed on fentanyl, heroin, or other synthetic opioids,” Foley said.
Narcan is the drug used to reverse a heroin or opioid overdose.
On Tuesday, the department reached out to the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition to see if they could get some kits.
Foley said there were 75 fatal overdoses in the city last year, and that number doesn't even include the 200 saves made by the fire department, all thanks to the drug.
In 2017, there have already been six overdoses, and that number is expected to rise throughout the year.
"What you're seeing right now is everyone wants to get Narcan to have around,” Foley said.
Executive Director of the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition, Mark Jenkins, said other departments across the country have also asked for the kits for their canine units.
"It took a while to get up to speed, but the amount of fatal overdoses that occur is incredible,” Jenkins said.
He said the kits that can be used on dogs are the same ones that would be used on a person who might be experiencing an overdose.
Jenkins said his mission is “to do everything in our power to make sure the medication and information gets to the people who need it most."
There will be a training on how to use the kits for detectives and their dogs on Thursday morning.
To see more photos of the dogs, click here.
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