With heroin the focus of the nation in terms of drug use, the Ocean View Police Department has been working to address the growing local issue.
For the second time, OVPD will host a Delaware Overdose Survival Education class (DOSE), offered by Brandywine Counseling and Community Services.
“We decided to host another program because of the demand from the community. We have a number of people who called after the first event that thanked us for hosting it, but at the same time they did not feel comfortable coming out and dealing with the problem in public,” said Chief Ken McLaughlin.
The program will be held on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m., at the Ocean View Police Department. Those who attend will learn how to prevent an overdose, recognize an overdose, and learn how to respond to an overdose.
Persons in attendance will receive a certificate of completion for training to respond to a suspected overdose with naloxone, a drug that blocks opiate receptors.
“This will be a good thing to get more folks educated on the problem, and helping some of these family members that really just don’t have a place to turn right now,” McLaughlin said. Referring to the previous workshop, he noted, “We had some great instructors there. The one lead instructor was a recovering addict herself, and it was very interesting to hear things from her perspective. And to see a success — someone who has come full circle as an addict, who’s now teaching others — it gave me a little bit of hope where I thought there was none.”
McLaughlin said that sitting in a room with those who are directly affected by drug use was an eye-opening experience for him and his officers.
“It helped us grasp the fact that these family members, parents, are suffering from this disease much as the individual addict is. I just can’t imagine going through that as a parent.”
At Thursday’s workshop, a representative from AtTAcK Addiction, a Delaware organization working to de-stigmatize heroin use and give support to families, will be in attendance.
“We support them and their initiatives, and in return they support us,” said McLaughlin.
Although heroin abuse has been a growing topic in state agencies, McLaughlin said more could be done.
“I’m really disappointed that the fire service statewide has been somewhat reluctant to adopt the Narcan. It’s new and it’s a drug and the EMT’s are used to administering drugs but I’m very pleased Bethany and Millville companies have adopted it and are carrying it.” Narcan is a brand name for naloxone.
Having heard that some individuals are opposed to emergency services carrying the life-saving drug because of patients becoming dangerously aggressive, McLaughlin said that has not been his experience.
“It’s a misconception out there,” he said. “It’s a possibility, but we haven’t seen that yet. We’re trained so that we’re prepared to deal with it if it happens.”
McLaughlin said the area has continued to suffer from a heroin problem over the last few years, and the department is being vigilant when it comes to enforcement, treatment and resources.
“Just two weeks ago or so we had another Narcan save. Nick Harrington administered Narcan on an overdose call. The subject is still alive,” he said. “We used one of our auto injectors, which I think is the first time one of the auto injectors has been used by law enforcement in the State of Delaware. It’s sad the problem continues to persist.”
McLaughlin emphasized that continued efforts to address the local drug problem are essential. “I think the politically-correct crowd is making insinuations that we need less enforcement. I believe it’s just the opposite — we need more enforcement than ever. However, the components that are missing are the education and treatment of people. Those are the missing pieces of the puzzle, as far as I’m concerned. “
Regarding his department’s efforts to combat the growing heroin problem in the area, McLaughlin said he is proud of how OVPD has been working hard to serve the community’s needs.
“I’ve said this over and over again, but we really have this area covered now. We’re racing each other to get to the calls, which is a good thing,” he said. “We have a small little area to take care of and try to do the best that we can for the people that we represent.
“I’m proud of our efforts to date, and that we’ve saved a couple of lives, and hopefully have given some people the opportunity to change their lives and get on the right track. Time will tell.”
The Ocean View Police Department is located at 201 Central Ave. in Ocean View. For more information, call (302) 539-1111.