BRADENTON (FOX 13) - There's new help for Manatee County emergency workers in the fight against heroin. Along with paramedics, Bradenton Police are being armed with Narcan, a powerful drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
According to Manatee County EMS officials, from May 29 to June 29 of this year, emergency crews have administered 458 doses of Narcan.
The amount more than doubles when all of 2017 is considered.
"From January 1 of this year to [June 29], we have administered 1,271 doses of Narcan," said Timothy Raines, District Chief of Manatee County EMS.
Raines said the numbers lead EMS officials to believe Manatee County could see a "repeat of last year," where overdoses from heroin, fentanyl and carefentanil spiked in July.
"Last year we discovered there was an increase of heroin overdoses or narcotic overdoses, explained Raines. "We've seen the same increase this time of year, at the same month actually."
Officials are not certain why overdoses appear to increase in the summer months, but they are preparing for the worst. Bradenton Police used a $20,000 state grant awarded in May to buy 400 units of Narcan. Police officers are being trained to administer the drug.
"Often they were just stuck with basic lifesaving skills, CPR, chest compressions, things like that," said Lt. Brian Thiers with Bradenton Police.
Officer will use a nasal spray to give the 2-milligram dosage, which is enough to bring a person back to consciousness in seconds. Officers are expected to have the drug in hand over the next few weeks.