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Wilmington City Council approves mandating naloxone training for police officers

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Delaware Public Media
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Wilmington City Council members passed a resolution last week requiring all Wilmington Police Officers to undergo training on how to administer naloxone, an opioid-overdose reversal drug, and carry it with them when on duty.

Naloxone has been making waves nationally, and was an item of focus during Thursday night’s meeting.

Councilman Robert Williams sponsored the resolution. He sees it as essential that police officers – not just paramedics – be ready to respond in life or death situations.

“The delay of using narcan usually has devastating effects on the victim. I’ll call them a victim. Some people say they’re heroin addicts or they have a problem. They’re human beings and they need the help. And when you’re a police officer you swear to protect and serve and that means protect and serve everybody regardless of their social status, regardless of their ailments,” Williams said.

The opioid-overdose drug can save lives of those experiencing an overdose – in the hands of those properly trained to administer it. And Williams has seen its effects first-hand.

 

“I’ve had some personal feelings about it for quite some time. I’m a nurse by trade, I’m a retired Wilmington police lieutenant, I moved into the medical field, I’m a registered nurse, I worked in the ER at Christiana Care. I’ve seen the immediacy of the drug, how it affects the body,” Williams said.

Williams said only six of the First State’s police departments require their officers to carry naloxone.

Councilman Michael Brown says he had a change of heart, and voted for the resolution to be passed in-part based on his childhood experiences in New York City.

“I watched them in the alley ways across the courtyard shoot up and I promised my mother that I would never do that. I’ve saved some lives - helped friends walk in on their sisters, brothers, mothers or fathers and put them in the shower and walk them around - put them under the fire hydrant to try to revive them,” Brown said.

He adds he’d like to sit down the Wilmington Police chief and discuss potential barriers for implementing the training department-wide.  

There was some discussion about why the police department would be resistant to their officers carrying the drug. Williams said they don’t see it as necessary if paramedics throughout the city carry it.

However, Williams argues that paramedics aren’t always the first responders to an opioid-overdose scene, and he says it’s the responsibility of the officers to act in these instances.

Williams hopes it won’t take long for the trainings to happen, and notes that the trainers – and 2,000 naloxone kits – are ready to go.

 

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