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Jackson County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit now armed with Narcan

k9 narcan
Posted at 6:28 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 20:34:03-04

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — The Jackson County Sheriff's Office has a new tool in its arsenal to protect its K-9 unit against deadly drugs.

All three of the department's dogs now carry their own personal dose of Narcan, which is an antidote for opioid overdoses.

This comes amid a rising increase in drug overdose deaths around the country.

National data shows a 15% increase in drug overdose deaths in 2021, which is on the heels of a 30% increase nationally in 2020.

Jackson County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jessica Davidson said the department got the Narcan for the dogs through a national nonprofit called Vested Interest in K9s. The organization works to provide protection for dogs in law enforcement.

While deputies already carry Narcan for humans, the doses meant for the dogs are just as important, considering the dogs are the ones sniffing around and making direct contact with dangerous drugs.

Davidson said it's a relief knowing her pal and partner is protected.

"He is another fellow deputy, a fellow officer, and I would want to save his life just as much as I would want to save a human's life," Davidson said.

The move is a needed one, according to local substance abuse experts.

Emily Hage, president/CEO of First Call, an addiction treatment center in Kansas City, Missouri, said Kansas had the second-largest increase in overdose deaths in the nation in 2021.

"That's very telling to me and all my colleagues at First Call that we really need to be doing everything we can to mitigate drug overdose death," Hage said.

Davidson said the Narcan doses for the K-9s are investments in their safety, as the department spends a lot of time and resources on training and taking care of them.

"Having something to potentially save their lives saves the department as well," Davidson said.

First Call has Narcan available at its office building at 9091 State Line Road, Kansas City, Missouri.

To reach First Call's 24-hour crisis hotline, call 816-361-5900.