TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Twenty-five people are alive because a program created by Williamson County gave out medicine to reverse opioid overdoses.
A police officer in Taylor helped saved one of those lives when he responded to a 911 call on May 4. A mother reported finding her son that day unresponsive.
Sgt. Anthony Morehouse said he used Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, to revive the man from a heroin overdose. This came just two months after the patrol officer received training on how to use the nasal spray on someone.
“It was amazing to see this particular medicine be able to take someone that in years past we may not have been able to save,” Sgt. Morehouse said, “but this person’s going to be able to move on for another day and hopefully get the treatment and help that they need.”
He received the Narcan from Williamson County through its Opioid Emergency Response Pilot Project. This effort began 17 months ago after the county’s Mobile Outreach Team partnered with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Round Rock Fire Department.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission provided a $1.5 million grant to prevent opioid overdose deaths and increase access to opioid treatment and recovery services.
Much of that money went to provide Narcan, the opioid overdose rescue drug, to every first responder organization in the county as well as kits to many others in the area.
During an update about the project to county commissioners on Oct. 1, the director of the Williamson County Mobile Outreach Team shared that 17,000 doses of Narcan have now been distributed to 103 different agencies.
The team plans to now make that life-saving medication to agencies throughout the region.
“Law enforcement is on a critical medical call. They arrive on scene first, almost every time, and so for them to get that intervention on board, it’s going to improve the outcome,” said Daniel Sledge, the lead medic for the Williamson County Mobile Outreach Team.
He described Narcan as “like an AED, like a defibrillator or a tourniquet or anything else, getting that critical intervention on board has the biggest difference in the overall outcome.”
The program will be supported during the current year by a grant worth $500,000. This will help fund a peer recovery specialist to keep connecting with people who need resources or treatment to stay off opioids.
First responders point out that getting medical treatment for people is especially important because the use of Narcan to revive someone is simply the first step in care.
Anyone can request to receive Narcan kits from the Williamson County Mobile Outreach Team by calling 512-864-8277.