The Cleveland Police Department hosted a public presentation to talk about “Fentanyl: The New Heroin” on Friday, July 12.
CPD Officer and Paramedic Jeremiah Godfrey and Officer and Fire Captain - EMT Stephen Stephens presented information about this illegal drug sweeping the nation and creating a growing concern to law enforcement and medical professionals.
The officers aimed to let the public know the opioid crisis just keeps getting worse, in part because new types of drugs keep finding their way onto the streets. They want people to know what this new drug is, what to look for in users of the drug and how to protect yourself should you come into contact with someone who is experiencing an overdose of a substance unknown to you. They said coming into contact with Fentanyl, whether through touch or inhalation, can have lethal consequences.
An opioid overdose can cause a person to lose consciousness and put a person in respiratory distress, they said, noting that pin point pupils are a tell tale sign of opioid use.
Officer Stephens explained the use of Narcan, a medication that reverses and blocks the effects of opioid which CPD and EMS staff have on hand to be able to treat a known or suspected opioid overdose. Administering the Narcan can bridge the gap between first response aid and medical treatment for an OD in the hospital.
According to CDC statistics generated in 2016-17 research, in Oklahoma up to 25% of the deaths are related to an overdose. Pawnee County is in the top 5 of Oklahoma counties for opioid overdoses. Godfrey said, “When people know what to look for it helps.”
He hopes hosting presentations about the drug will help protect the community.