Branson Police get Narcan to protect officers from accidental exposure to opioids

Dangerous drugs continue to plague Ozarks communities.

A new synthetic drug could be the most harmful of all. It not only affects the user, but it could also affect anyone who comes into contact with it. The drug is called Carfentanil.

"We have people come in all the time with drug overdoses. We mostly see heroine," CoxHealth Branson ER Nurse Shannon Neumann said.

Neumann says the opioid epidemic is obvious in the hospital.

"Sadly, we are kind of used to it because we see it everyday. It is something that the area needs to be aware of though and be prepared and try to educate their kids and loved ones as much as possible to stay away from it. It's a hard thing to overcome," Neumann said.

Now, something even harder is making its way to the streets of Ozarks communities, Branson included.

"Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid of fentanyl. It is 10,000 times stronger than morphine," Neumann said.

Carfentanil is so dangerous that it can harm officers who accidentally come into contact with it. That's why a recent donation of Narcan is helping to protect those who work to protect the Branson community.

"Basically, this supply is for our officers, for their self-use, should they accidentally be exposed to opioids," Branson Assistant Police Chief Eric Schmitt said. '

Narcan counteracts the effects of opioids, including the scariest of them all: Carfentanil.

"Carfentanil is commonly known as the elephant tranquilizer. Just being absorbed through the skin, it is so strong that it can cause us to go into some medical issues that could kill you," Schmitt said.

Schmitt says the donation from the Skaggs Foundation will allow each officer to carry two doses of Narcan, coming out to about 70 doses total for the department.

"With the fentanyl or Carfentanil, a lot of times one dose isn't enough to bring them out of the overdose, where with the heroin and the OxyContin, one dose would be enough," Schmitt said.

The hospital is stocked up on Narcan, too. While Neumann says the ER hasn't seen Carfentanil overdoses yet, it's likely just a matter of time.

"It is in the area. We do know that for a fact," Neumann said.

The Taney County Ambulance crews carry Narcan, as well. While the police department's supply is intended for officers in the case of accidental exposure, the emergency responders' supply is intended for patients.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.