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Hampton Police and Sentara partner to combat opiate overdoses

HAMPTON, Va.- The Sentara CarePlex Hospital and Hampton Police have partnered to help save lives in cases of prescription opioid and heroin overdoses.

Under a new agreement, hospital staff and Hampton EMS will train police officers in the city in the use of Naloxone nasal spray, also known as Narcan.

The hospital will also supply officer with the spray devices to carry in the field.

"Police officers are sometimes the first to arrive when there's an overdose," Betsy Lynch, director of the Emergency Department at Sentara CarePlex Hospital commented. "When a patient stops breathing, officers equipped with Naloxone are able to save a few precious minutes in reviving those patients so EMS can transport them to us alive."

The use of Narcan was highlighted over the weekend in Portsmouth.

Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Portsmouth Police Officers saved the lives of five people suspected of overdosing on Heroin by using Narcan.

A sixth person died of a suspected heroin overdose Saturday night.

Laurie Blair knows the pain of losing someone to a heroin overdose. Her 23-year-old son Jeremy died on March 25 in Newport News.

"Jeremy wasn’t what people consider, he wasn’t what people consider, he wasn’t a junkie. I know they get labeled like that. He was my son," she told News 3's Todd Corillo through tears.

In the months since his passing, Blair has worked tirelessly to advocate and bring awareness and is pleased by the action that's happening in Hampton.

"It makes me really happy that they are doing something and try to spread awareness and getting the Narcan out there to help prevent overdoses or bring them back from the overdoses so they don’t die and no parent has to go through this," she shared.

In Hampton, the Sentara CarePlex Hospital conducted training Monday morning for eight Hampton Police Officers who will carry the nasal spray.

Portsmouth Police hold Narcan training on Nov. 14, 2016

Hampton Police hold Narcan training on Nov. 14, 2016

Another 16 officers have also been trained.

Since January, there have been 120 drug overdose cases in Hampton with 16 deaths.

The Sentara CarePlex Hospital Emergency Department has treated more than 400 cases of heroin, options and other drug overdoses in 2016.