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Five Fayetteville Police Officers honored for saving a life during an overdose

On Tuesday, the Arkansas Drug Director awarded five officers for using Naloxone to save the life of an overdose victim.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Five officers were awarded Tuesday for using Naloxone, a form of Narcan, to prevent death by overdose.

“We thought it was important to get out here and recognize them and recognize good officers doing good work,” said Arkansas State Drug Director Boyce Hamlet.

“When I arrived, several people were acting as if someone was going to pass away." Officer Parrish Diaz said arriving on the scene was very chaotic: "There was someone lying down on the ground that was unresponsive, their breathing was very raspy, and I immediately recognized they had overdosed on something."

Diaz wants to educate people on the laws that protect them when they're with someone experiencing an overdose:

“If somebody calls 911, and they’re experiencing an overdose [they] can't be charged with any crime as far as any narcotics that they might be in possession of," explained Diaz. 

Arkansas Drug Director Boyce Hamlet says statewide that almost 1,700 lives have been saved from Naloxone. He says, “That's 1,700 daughters, that’s 1,700 sons, that’s 1,700 husbands… You know it’s easy to look at that on a spreadsheet and dismiss it, but that’s human beings' lives that we’ve been able to save."

“Every opportunity to save a life, and get Narcan to officers, firemen, and EMS that’s what we’re going to do,” said Hamlet.

Every day police officers save lives, but they often don’t receive any recognition. Diaz speaks on how it's "always nice to be recognized for saving someone’s life… You know here at the Fayetteville Police Department we're committed to public safety, this program has helped out tremendously.”

The state drug director hopes this program continues to grow. To that end, they recently put Narcan boxes at the University of Central Arkansas and have a goal to make Naloxone available on every college campus in the state.

RELATED: City of Fort Smith warning public of fentanyl-related overdoses

RELATED: Arkansas overdoses from drugs laced with fentanyl on the rise

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