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State troopers respond to more overdoses at Civic Center Park

Troopers said they're using Naloxone, or Narcan, in the area around the state capitol more than anywhere else they patrol in Colorado.

DENVER — In a park at the heart of the city, troopers patrolling the area see a problem.

Colorado State Troopers (CSP) said they’re responding to more overdoses in Civic Center Park, fueled over the last couple of years by fentanyl. While they see overdoses across the state, troopers said they deploy the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone, or Narcan, in the area outside the capitol more than anywhere else.

"We have seen an upward trend of those overdoses occurring both in and around that park," said Sgt. Jerry Sharp with CSP. "Now that we see a more widespread availability of fentanyl, we’re also seeing the negative consequences that come with that availability."

Sharp used Narcan to save a woman in the park last year.

"We believed it was heroin. With that she had gone to the ground and was unresponsive and did not have a pulse," said Sharp. "We were actually able to get her breathing again and revive her."

Since police agencies are not required by the state to report or keep track of how often they use Narcan, it's nearly impossible to know how often agencies are responding to overdoses. 

But trooper Josh Lewis said state patrol is using Narcan more often now than ever before.

"Often we are locating people in or around capitol grounds or within the park and we may be the first ones that actually find them or report to a scene," said Lewis. "It seems like we have definitely seen an increase in terms of how much fentanyl we’re finding, where we’re finding it, and unfortunately people who are utilizing it and as a result overdosing."

Most overdose survivors are taken to the hospital after being revived. There’s a chance the Narcan wears off and the drugs can take effect again. From there the goal is to connect them with treatment services to get them help.



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