ROSSFORD, OH (WTOL) - Narcan is a prescription medication that can treat a narcotic overdose in emergency situations. Several law enforcement agencies have been outfitted with the drug to fight the opioid epidemic, but not Rossford police.
Rossford City Council public safety committee voted to approve its officers carrying the life-saving antidote at a previous meeting, but their medical director later raised concerns about police not being medical professionals, which led to more concerns, and halted the approval of officers carrying Narcan.
"The law director had concerns of liability because when the medical director has a differing of opinion than the public safety committee, then he had concerns that that could lead to possible civil litigations down the road," said Councilman Dan Wagner.
That led to the decision to not equip Rossford police officers with Narcan. Discussions began nearly six months ago.
While Rossford's Fire Department is already equipped with this antidote, they are not staffed 24 hours a day. This causes police to respond to medical calls on the off hours until a crew arrives.
"Every second counts when someone is not breathing," said Wagner. "Our average response time after hours is about eight minutes, and when we have an officer on scene within two to six minutes that's a lot of difference in time that we can be saving people who otherwise may not make it."
Officers in other cities, like Toledo, carry the drug and have made more than 150 saves in just six months.
Councilman Wagner says he believes Governor Kasich's new law will also help Rossford reach its goal of equipping officers with the drug in addition to having the right policy and training.
"We'd be fooling ourselves if we think the amount of overdoses we're seeing in Toledo and that there is some mysterious wall that is preventing them from coming into our jurisdiction," Wagner said. "It's clear we have already had some of those happen, luckily it has happened while fire has been on, fully staffed and they have responded appropriately and we were able to save these people's lives, but the law of averages is going to catch up with us sooner or later."
Wagner says he will push 100 percent for their officers to have Narcan and believes the city will reach that goal into the future.
The matter is set to be discussed again in the public safety committee, that meeting date has not yet been determined.