Surge in opioid overdoses prompts Missouri trooper training on new nasal spray antidote

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- An increase in opioid overdoses is prompting Missouri state troopers to learn how to administer an important antidote.

Some say the training can save lives in the nationwide opioid epidemic.

Law enforcement officers in Missouri are seeing more drivers under the influence of heroin, Vicodin and other opioids.

Both St. Louis and Springfield, Mo., are reporting increases in opioid overdoses, so the highway patrol has begun training troopers to administer Narcan, a nasal spray that counteracts an opioid overdose for up to an hour, until first responders can get a patient to the hospital.

Troopers are learning how to identify the signs of an opioid overdose and respond in a similar fashion to officers giving CPR to someone who's not breathing.

"If a person has overdosed, we are basically looking for certain signs that they are in an overdose situation," said Cpl. Clay Moeller of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "This is a way that would counteract the effects of that in a person’s body. It only counteracts it for a short period of time. They still need to receive medical attention."

The highway patrol has received only about 150 doses of Narcan through a federal grant with  the Missouri Hope Project.

That's not enough for the roughly 1,000 troopers in the Show-Me State.

Ideally, Moeller would like every trooper to carry two doses of Narcan, which can counter an overdose within two to five minutes of being sprayed up your nostrils.

No prescription is needed in Missouri to get Narcan, also known as Naloxone. And it's not illegal for anyone to carry.

At about $30 per dose, it's hoped law enforcement can provide an important safety net for those trapped by addiction.