WASHINGTON — Editor's Note: The video above aired October 24, 2022.
In an effort to prevent opioid overdose deaths, Metro Transit Police Officers are being equipped with Narcan as well as being trained on how to use it.
All active duty MTPD officers and Metro's crisis intervention specialists will be issued naloxone (commonly known as Narcan) to prevent deaths by opioid overdose.
The addition of the Narcan as a life-saving resource comes as a result of increased calls to MTPD reporting suspected overdoses, from 27 incidents in 2021 to 43 incidents in 2022.
Officials say MTPD officers are often the first to respond to reports of sick customers possibly experiencing an overdose, and naloxone can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in the critical minutes before emergency personnel arrive on scene.
According to the CDC, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with almost three out of four caused by opioids.
Metro worked with The h3 Project DC, a local nonprofit organization that helps vulnerable populations, to train all personnel who will be equipped with naloxone. Officials say the training included instruction of proper usage procedures, safety precautions, and a review of signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose.
“MTPD officers are committed to keeping our community safe, and this additional tool is already being used to potentially save lives,” said Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Anzallo. “Like all medical emergencies, time is of the essence when rendering care to those experiencing overdoses, and officers are now better equipped to quickly help those experiencing a crisis.”
In the past few months, Metro has launched several public safety initiatives, including the hiring of four Crisis Intervention Specialists trained in mental health awareness and de-escalation methods, deploying MTPD officers on 30% more patrols across the system, and an awareness campaign to educate the public on steps they could take to enhance personal safety while using transit.
If you see a person in need or anything suspicious in the Metro system, please contact MTPD by texting MyMTPD (696873) or calling 202-962-2121. Metro also reminds customers that if you or a loved one needs help, dial 988. the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has mental health professionals available 24 hours a day.