The Daily Review/Jaclyn Breaux
Assistant Police Chief J.P. Henry demonstrated the use of Narcan at Tuesday's Berwick Town Council meeting.
Berwick PD ready to use Narcan in opioid fight
BERWICK — Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids, according to drugabuse.gov. Our nation has an opioid epidemic and our area is not exempt from its effects.
On Tuesday, the Town Council listened to a report from Berwick Police Chief David Leonard Sr. explaining how Berwick police officers are better equipping themselves by adding Narcan to their regular gear and becoming trained on how to administer it.
“I feel very strongly about a project we have been working on which is a Narcan or Naloxone policy. In essence this is an antidote to an opioid overdose,” Leonard said.
Officers attended a course learning how to administer the Narcan and the medication will be funded by the Attorney General’s Office.
“This can be administered to our officers, fellow officers, even K9s as well as someone who is in distress due to overdose,” Leonard said.
Assistant Chief J.P. Henry demonstrated for the council how the drug would be administered.
“Morgan City Police are already equipped with this and have already saved several lives with the Naloxone they have been using within the last year and if I’m not mistaken it has been administered to a deputy before who touched some heroin because heroin does absorb in your skin,” Henry said.
Each officer will carry a vial and a syringe on their person in a pouch on their duty belt.
“One of the issues we deal with as law enforcement, among many other dangerous things, is coming into contact with an unknown substance that would overdose or potentially kill our officers. Drugs that are extremely dangerous and potent are in our area,” Leonard said.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office recently released information on a drug that was found during an arrest in St. Mary Parish called “gray death.” This drug is a lethal mix of heroin, fentanyl and various fentanyl analogues. It is reported to have a potency 10,000 times greater than morphine.
“First and foremost, this is for our protection if we come across something when we are searching a vehicle and we touch it. Fentanyl and heroin absorb directly into the skin immediately and if you come into contact with that mix, like the gray death that they just found, you are going to know it and you are going to drop,” Henry said.
“This will help save a life and I feel very strongly about it,” Leonard said.
The council also opened up the floor to a public hearing for anyone wanting to discuss an ordinance labeled Ordinance No. 702 concerning the placement of political signs.
The ordinance states that political signs cannot be placed more than 60 days before an election, must be removed no later than 14 days after an election and cannot be more than 4 foot by 4 foot in size in any place zoned residential with the exception of areas along La. 182.
“This ordinance mirrors one already in place in Morgan City,” Councilman Lud Henry said. “We have three neighborhoods in Berwick who already have more restrictive requirements than this.”
A Berwick resident in attendance addressed the council saying “I disagree with the restriction to size. I think it should be left up to the individual person who wants to put it up in their yard.”
Councilman James Richard disagreed with the restriction on size as well. “Being so restrictive just invades upon someone’s individual choice. I don’t have a problem with the date to put the signs out and picking them up, but you should be able to decide for your own individual yard what size sign you want, it should be individual choice,” Richard said.
Councilwoman Colleen Askew also disagreed with the restriction on size. “Everyone I have spoken with is unconcerned with the size of signs. There is already enough restrictions.”
Councilman Lud Henry made a motion to pass the ordinance, but no one seconded it.
“I would like to say this. I would like all of the council to submit to me what you would like to see in this ordinance so we can come up with something we can all agree upon. I think it is important and this is the second time we haven’t been able to settle this ordinance,” Mayor Duval Arthur said.