Florence Police Department seeing spike in overdoses, Narcan use

On Monday, WAAY 31 heard from one of the officers who helped save a man's life after an overdose in a car.

Posted: Jul 19, 2021 4:59 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2021 6:57 PM

On Monday, WAAY 31 heard from one of the officers who helped save a man's life after an overdose in a car.

Last week, deputies from Colbert County led officers from the Florence Police Department to a scene that's become all too familiar to them.

"The driver was slapping the passenger and holding him up by the head, by the hair of his head, just holding him up. So they called us. We responded, we got them stopped and we immediately removed the passenger from the vehicle and started chest compressions and administering Narcan,"said Florence Police Department Officer Chuck Hearn.

After administering multiple doses of Narcan, the man was able to be resuscitated.

Hearn, a 21-year veteran with the the department, has spent 16 years of those years on the Drug Task Force. He said the number of times they've had to use Narcan has gone up in the last year.

"For the same time period last year, we only utilized 13 Narcan. For the same time frame ... approximately 75% increase of Narcan use," he said.

Hearn said the number of overdose calls has also increased in the last year. He said they've seen the way Fentanyl has impacted other communities, and while it's unfortunate it is taking a toll on theirs, officers will continue to do their part to keep people safe.

"It's encouraging that some of the officers are trained for the Narcan and able to use it, it's disheartening to know that the drug is prevalent in our community and so many people are having issues with it," Hearn said.

Hearn said another way they are working to keep people safe is getting drugs like Fentanyl off the street. He said the number of drug-related arrests has gone up in Florence.

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