In recent years, the opioid epidemic has spread quickly in Indiana. But drug users aren’t the only ones who feel its effects. Police officers face threats when interacting with drug users, as do their K-9 partners.
“Our dogs are trained to indicate when there’s a presence of narcotics, which is a tremendous tool,” said Lt. J.J. Semester, Carmel Police Dept. public information officer. “However, contact with those substances is the same for a dog as it is for a human being. A tiny amount could have a drastic or very deadly result for the K-9 officer.”
Fortunately, the effects of narcotics can be reversed by naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan. CPD recently received free K-9 naloxone kits to utilize in an emergency from Vested Interest in K-9s. Each package contains two doses of naloxone, one hard plastic NarCase and one holster.
“Each kit comes with two spray bottles,” Semester said. “They’re already pre-mixed, and they squirt one in each nostril of the canine. The effects are almost immediate.”
Vested Interest in K-9s offers the kit to police departments across the U.S. that meet certain criteria.
“Last year, we implemented a grant for $31,000 to provide working dogs in the United States with Narcan kits,” said Sandy Marcal, founder and president of Vested Interest in K-9s. “That money provided 300 Narcan kits. This year, we expanded the grant to cover 500 kits.”
The organization felt it was essential to provide the kits for free.
“We find that a lot of these departments just can’t afford to purchase these for the dogs or even know they’re available,” Marcal said.
Semester said the kits will protect the health of CPD’s four K-9s.
“It’s imperative that we maintain the safety of our officers and the dogs,” Semester said.
For more, visit vik9s.org.