KUSA - Last year, amidst an opioid epidemic, state officials began distributing Narcan kits to first responders.
Narcan, also known Naloxone, is a nasal spray that reverses overdoses in people on heroin or other opioids.
Wednesday, officers in Weld County joined the fight against overdose deaths by learning how to use Narcan on those so close to death.
Evans police officer Luis Garcia learned the drug’s value when responding to an overdose of an unconscious woman.
“So we got her and turned her over and we see that we had no pulse and she is practically gone,” Garcia said.
Garcia then whipped out a dose of Narcan. He said after using the drug, she regained consciousness.
"Her eyes opened up and they're bloodshot red," Garcia recalled.
Doctors say most overdoses are witnessed and happen over hours.
Evans Police Chief Rick Brandt says heroin use continues to rise in Weld County and he's hoping Narcan will help save lives.
“We had had five deaths here," Brandt said. "When I learned there was a way to curb that, it really struck me that now we can make a difference.”
Narcan can help people start breathing after overdosing on drugs like heroin, methadone and oxycodone.
Brandt says drug overdoses have reached epidemic levels in Evans.
In 2000, there were nine deaths in Weld County, and that number skyrocketed to 46 in 2015.
Overall in that 15-year period, 419 people died as a result of an overdose in Weld County.
One hundred and twenty-five police departments are now using Narcan across the state.
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