Ocala police, fire chiefs provide update on local opioid crisis

Ocala Police Department Chief Greg Graham and Ocala Fire Rescue Chief Shane Alexander provided updated statistics regarding the opioid crisis that has gripped the nation and its local impact during Tuesday’s meeting of the Ocala City Council.

According to Graham, the police department has been involved in 60 overdoses, with 11 of those resulting in death.

As a result of the overdoses, Ocala police officers have administered Narcan successfully to 16 residents.

“We’ve saved 16 people with Narcan and to date, we’ve had 83 people participate in amnesty,” Graham said.

Narcan, known also as naloxone, is an opioid antagonist that binds to opioid receptors in the brain in place of opioid drugs and prevents opioids from binding, temporarily reversing an overdose.

The police department began its Amnesty with Treatment program last year and has seen success in helping those fighting drug addiction. Graham indicated that this past weekend, four Ocala residents showed up to receive treatment.

Alexander provided a report on the department’s opioid numbers from March and April, informing the council that there were 16 overdoses with six Narcan “leave-behinds” and no deaths.

The “leave-behind” program enables paramedics to offer a free naloxone kit at the response scene to a patient, or a patient’s family, who was revived from an opioid overdose.

“We continue to see our numbers drop down,” Alexander said.