Saving Lives in New Ways

Guest blogger Lt. Ryan Gagnon, Oprations Division Commander

Every day in Michigan 4 people die from an opiate overdose.  Last year alone 1,785 people died from overdoses in Michigan and this trend continues to climb each year.  The reality is that each one of these people were someone’s loved one.  They were a brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, or father.  The opiate overdose rate is skyrocketing and touching families across this country.


It has been the experience of first responders across the country that 85% of the time when first responders get called to an overdose, law enforcement officers are the first ones on scene.  Given this fact and the availability of life saving drugs we have partnered with Oakland County Community Mental Health to put this life saving medicine into the hands of our police officers. 

We have begun the process of training and equipment police officers in the field with Naloxone nasal spray.  This medicine can be delivered to a patient through the nasal passage way in order to reverse the effects of the opioids in the body.  There are many illicit drugs and prescription medications that are classified as opioids.  Taking too much of these drugs results in respiratory


depression which leads to person not being able to breath and ultimately death if not counteracted with medicine.  The medicine we are issuing does not have any adverse effects on persons who are not under the influence of an opioid, which makes it safe.

Officers take this responsibility seriously and we are pleased to be able to partner with a program to get life-saving medicine into the hands of our officers, who more than likely will be the first emergency responders on scene.

For more information about this program and other community resources please visit the Oakland County Community Mental Health website at


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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.