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Wilmington police plan to start carrying Narcan

James Morrison
Delaware Public Media

The Wilmington Police Department says it plans to have its officers carry the overdose antidote Narcan as soon as possible.

31 of Delaware’s 49 police departments already carry Narcan through a program funded by the state’s Department of Health and Social Services which started in 2014.

During his first 18 months on the job, Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy says he was hesitant to join that list over concerns about storing Narcan at the correct temperature.

Tracy met in recent weeks with Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and St. Francis Hospital Emergency Department’s Sandra Gibney, MD.

He says Gibney agreed to store Narcan for the city’s police officers at St. Francis.

“So it’s going to be a one in one out. My officers can respond to St. Francis and they can take care of the inventory and the logistics,” said Tracy. “And then the next thing I’m looking at, as soon as I work out the agreement, we’re going to have our officers all trained in it. So we should be carrying it shortly.”

St. Francis Hospital EMS and New Castle County paramedics act as first responders in the city of Wilmington. Both of those agencies carry Narcan as well as the Wilmington Fire Department. Tracy says there has not been one instance where an overdose patient died as a result of the Wilmington Police Department not carrying the overdose antidote.

“We have not in my 18 months’ time had any documented cases where if our officers had had it we could've saved someone’s life—that we couldn’t save someone’s life because we weren’t carrying it—because of the response time of our partner first responders,” said Tracy. “That being said it doesn't mean the situation couldn’t happen.”

The state has allocated $100 thousand from its budget for Narcan and is set to receive another $583 thousand each year over the next four years from the federal government.

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