Rushford Trains Meriden Police on Narcan

It looked like a scene from a TV crime drama, but the topic could not have been more real.

A group of about 20 Meriden police officers gathered in the roll call room at police headquarters for the first of several training sessions on how to administer Naloxone, or Narcan, the medication which can reverse the symptoms of an opioid-related overdose.

The trainings, provided by Rushford nurse practitioner Monique Allgood, APRN, are part of a partnership with the Meriden Police Department to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Rushford received grant funding to distribute Narcan to Meriden police, and the training sessions were meant to help officers familiarize themselves with how to administer the medication in cases where they are the first to encounter someone in the midst of an overdose. In most cases the medication would be administered by ambulance or fire department teams, but since police often arrive at emergencies ahead of other responders, their Narcan training could make a lifesaving difference, Allgood said.

Allgood showed the officers how the medication is administered like a nasal spray, and how in just a few minutes it works to reverse the symptoms of an overdose by blocking the receptors in the brain that normally accept heroin and other opioids.

She told the officers that the medication’s effectiveness lasts anywhere from a half hour to 90 minutes, which is why it’s still important to get the patient to a hospital for observation or additional care. She also said the medication does not have any harmful impact if it’s accidentally administered to those who are not experiencing an overdose.

Some officers asked if the medication has been shown to increase the chance of those who experience an overdose eventually overcoming their addiction, rather than just a band-aid.

Allgood said there are measures in place to help overdose victims get into treatment, including a Hartford HealthCare-wide effort to embed recovery coaches and medication-assisted treatment into emergency departments across the system.

  • “The main message is, we can’t get someone into treatment if they’re dead.”

    - Monique Allgood