The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that its police officers have a new tool to protect customers and save lives, as all active duty MTPD officers and Metro’s crisis intervention specialists will be equipped with naloxone (commonly known as Narcan) to prevent deaths by opioid overdose.
The addition of naloxone as a life-saving resource comes as a result of increased calls to MTPD reporting suspected overdoses, from 27 incidents in 2021 to 43 incidents in 2022, according to Metro Transit's news release.
MTPD officers are often first to respond to reports of sick customers possibly experiencing an overdose, and naloxone can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in the minutes before paramedics arrive. An MTPD officer administered life-saving naloxone to revive an unresponsive person suspected of experiencing an opioid overdose on the first day they were equipped with the drug.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with nearly three out of four caused by opioids.
WMATA said it worked with The h3 Project DC to train all personnel who will be equipped with naloxone. The training included instruction of proper usage procedures, safety precautions, and a review of the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose.
“MTPD officers are committed to keeping our community safe, and this additional tool is already being used to potentially save lives,” said Michael Anzallo, WMATA's police chief. “Like all medical emergencies, time is of the essence when rendering care to those experiencing overdoses, and officers are now better equipped to quickly help those experiencing a crisis.”