NEW LONDON--From January through the end of March 2016, New London's Lawrence and Memorial Hospital saw 47 patients who had overdosed on heroin. Now, the hospital is helping out neighboring police departments that are worried they don't have enough naloxone (brand name Narcan) to help save lives in their communities.
On any given day, especially these last two years, police departments never know what to expect when it comes to saving the lives of drug addicts.
Waterford Police Chief Brett Mahoney said, "We have seen that the addition of fentanyl into heroin is something addicts are dying from, and chasing the fentanyl-laced heroin and actively looking for it. Way back when, 21 years ago, I never thought I would be administering medicine to save an opioid addict's life."
Already to date this year, Mahoney says his department has administered Narcan seven times.
It was Mahoney who reached out to Lawrence and Memorial Hospital saying he was worried his department didn't have enough Narcan kits.
Based on the number of patients the hospital has been seeing, it agreed to help.
In 2014 Lawrence and Memorial treated 74 patients who overdosed on heroin. In 2015, the number went way up to 111.
CEO Bruce Cummings said, "Even though it was not anticipated in our budget for this epidemic we thought the scope of the crisis was so extraordinary and Narcan's temporary effects are so great that we were moved to make this important investment."
Besides Waterford, other area police departments including both Groton city and town, Stonington, and Ledyard have accepted the hospital's offer to provide their departments with extra Narcan.
Mahoney said, "It says on the side of our cruisers 'to protect and serve.' We have made a conscious decision these people are a part of our community and we are going to do what we can to save their lives."