Colorado arms K-9 units with life-saving opioid antidote

Opioid epidemic: Officers carrying antidote for police dogs

Colorado law enforcement agents across the state were outfitted with 4,000 kits of Narcan on Wednesday amid an uptick in the amount of K-9 units exposed to dangerous opioids while on the job. The move follows similar programs implemented by officers in Wisconsin and other states.

“Criminals out there transporting narcotics are getting creative,” Sgt. Keith Sanders, a K-9 handler with the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, told FOX 31 Denver. “They’re coming up with different ways to throw the dogs off, poison the dogs.”

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The attorney general’s office was on-hand to dole out the kits to 60 K-9 units Wednesday, with plans to provide more to each department. Members of the Colorado Police Canine Association received training on how to administer the antidote in the event of an accidental overdose, FOX 31 Denver reported.

“Our K-9 officers and our K-9s are often the first to come on scene when there’s an overdose and they need to be protected as well,” Leora Joseph, chief of staff for the attorney general’s office, told FOX 31 Denver.

Sanders noted that in the past, many police dogs died because they couldn’t receive treatment in time after an overdose. Their wet nose provides easy access for the dangerous substances to enter directly into the bloodstream.

“It happens a lot more often nowadays,” he told the news outlet. “It takes just a minute, little bit and they can OD on it pretty quick. We put in a lot of time with these dogs. We live with them. They’re part of the family and just the mere chance of losing one to a little bit of narcotics is very scary.”

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