Iowa City police have successfully administered Narcan seven times since the beginning of 2021, saving the lives of individuals overdosing from an opioid.
ICPD patrol officers have been carrying Narcan since Fall 2020 after a months' long effort to equip the department with the lifesaving drug. The City's plan to restructure the police department also calls for officers to carry Narcan.
Narcan - also known as Naloxone - is an opioid antagonist, meaning it counteracts the potentially fatal effects of opioids such as heroin, morphine, fentanyl, and oxycodone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 500,000 people have died from opioid overdoses between 1999-2019. The Iowa Department of Public Health reports than 212 people died from opioid overdoses in the state in 2020, up from 157 such deaths in 2019.
"Iowa City is not immune to the deadly impact of the opioid epidemic," said Iowa City Police Sgt. Paul Batcheller, who oversees the department's Narcan program. "Equipping our officers with Narcan has allowed us to save lives and to help others in the future."
All patrol officers are equipped with Narcan and have been trained in its usage.
Under Iowa Code Section 124.418, overdose bystanders will not be arrested or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance or possession of drug paraphernalia if they seek medical assistance for an overdose patient and do not have any outstanding warrants.