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ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WUSA9) -- Anne Arundel County police officers will be carrying an anti-overdose drug, officials announced Monday.

Officers will begin carrying "Narcan," a potentially life-saving drug that can reverse the side effects of a heroin overdose.

Members of the Anne Arundel County Police Department are currently being trained by members of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department on how to use "Narcan," which is administered through a nasal spray. Officials say "Narcan" has been successful in treating overdoses of heroin and other opiates by EMS providers for years.

Police say they began to see a rise in heroin overdoses in the Southern portion of Anne Arundel County in areas such as Annapolis, Parole, and Edgewater during the summer of 2013.

MAP: Heroin overdoses in Anne Arundel County

The majority of the overdoses were occurring in public places like malls and shopping centers and many of the people purchasing and using the heroin were traveling from other counties into Anne Arundel County, police said in a news release.

"The heroin problem that exists is not isolated to Anne Arundel County, and this is not an issue that law enforcement can arrest their way out of," said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis. "A holistic approach, involving education, treatment and enforcement is needed to tackle this disease. One of the major tenets of law enforcement is to protect lives and I believe that outfitting officers with "Narcan" is an invaluable tool in the effort to save people from losing their battles with substance abuse."

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