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In New Canaan, Police Get A Life-Saving Tool For Overdoses

Davis Dunavin

In much of New York and New Jersey, police have been using an antidote called Narcan to treat heroin overdoses for the past two years — officials in Suffolk County say it's saved 360 lives there. And, while most local departments in Connecticut don't use the drug, that's starting to change.

In New Canaan, police are getting training in administering Narcan to people who have overdosed and stopped breathing. It just takes two squirts up the nose. But, in the field, it could save a life.

More and more, police in Connecticut are getting training in equipment usually only carried by paramedics, said New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. First it was defibrillators.

"Now this is the first time we've actually had a drug that we're able to use, because of the epidemic in Connecticut and across the nation with heroin overdoses," he said. "And we want to be the first line of defense for that. Because we're on the scene within a few minutes, and sometimes we're there before the ambulance, if we can administer this quickly, and we reverse the effects of an overdose, then that's a win for us."

Connecticut saw more than 250 drug overdose deaths last year. New Canaan is one of the first local departments in the state to start using Narcan to fight drug overdoses. Connecticut State Police started using the antidote last month.

Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan provided funds for training for New Canaan police.