VA police officers save lives with Narcan

The Department of Veterans Affairs police officers in El Paso are now trained on how to use Narcan.

Just days after being trained on how to use a life-saving medical tool, police officers with the El Paso Veterans Affairs Health Care System put it to use.

In December, the VA police officers were trained on how to give someone Narcan, a nasal spray used to treat opiate overdose.

This is the first time the VA police officers in El Paso have received this type of training.

"He was hunched over in the vehicle he was in,” said Cpl. Mario Garcia with the VA police department.

After learning when and how to use it, the officers have now saved two veterans’ lives.

The first was just a few days after their lesson.

The two officers tell CBS4 they responded to a call in the parking lot of the VA, where a man was unresponsive in his vehicle.

"And, at that time, seconds count for everything,” said Capt. Shawn Wells with the VA police department.

He said he tried waking the veteran up.

"We sat him upright and everything, and that's when we noticed he wasn't breathing,” said Garcia.

Both officers said they gave the veteran Narcan and he became conscious after a few seconds and was transported to an area hospital.

Though doctors and nurses within the VA system receive Narcan training regularly, the police officers are now going to be a part of it, too.

"They're often the first ones on the scene,” said Ashley Roman, nurse educator at the El Paso VA. "So we wanted to make sure that they had the tools and the competency to provide that care in a timely manner, when really, seconds count."

She helped the officers learn how to use the vital tool.

"… know that this is a potential that can happen to our veterans,” she said.

Wells and Garcia told CBS4 another incident happened on Thursday, where a veteran became unconscious inside the facility.

"When they used it, they had positive results, so the patient then was able to respond,” said Roman.

The officers said they are not sure how the incidents would have unfolded if they didn’t receive the training.

"Without the training, we just - waiting game, just wait until EMS arrived and let them handle it,” said Garcia.

He said since the training, each officer is issued a package of Narcan to have on them while on duty.

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