GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay Police have received 300 doses of the opioid antidote Narcan thanks to a donation from Prevea Health.
The department is also getting more tactical medical kits for police officers.
The announcement was made Thursday at a news conference at the police training center.
One dose of Narcan nasal spray costs about $74. Three hundred doses of Narcan would cost more than $22,000. The donation means that cost won't be on the taxpayer dime.
"Unfortunately all communities across the country are experiencing these overdoses," said Police Chief Andrew Smith. "About every two weeks here in Green Bay, we experience an overdose and we use our Narcan. The problem here in Green Bay is that we cannot afford to buy Narcan. It's not in our budget."
Prevea Health says it has a vested interest in making sure lives are saved with Narcan. They see them as patients, and they want addiction to be treated as a disease.
"Until as a society we start to recognize addiction as a disease, we won't approach the problem as such," says Ashok Rai, MD. "So to say, 'Why should we be using Narcan because you're just a drug addict?' -- They're more than just a drug addict. This is like giving cancer-curing therapy to a cancer patient. We would never deny that in our society. Why would we deny somebody Narcan for saving their lives?"
Narcan isn't solely for addicts.
"Often times it's young people that take a pill at a party and don't know what they have. It's people who have no intention of overdosing, but get ahold or are exposed to fentanyl," Chief Smith says. "Sometimes even police officers, so we have this around the police station here to administer Narcan to our own personnel."
Dr. Rai says the cost of Narcan has tripled over the last six years.
In Sept. 15, Green Bay Police equipped 125 patrol officers with Narcan. Since then, those officers have used the Narcan in 45 instances.
This donation allows the department to equip all of its officers with Narcan.
The department also received more medical kits for severe trauma situations.