Village officer uses donated injector to prevent overdose

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – “Always be prepared” is the Boy Scout motto. Now, it might as well be the sentiment for the Kalkaska Department of Public Safety as well.

Since late 2015, KDPS officers have carried kits donated by the Gaylord Catholic Diocese that include Narcan (naloxone) auto-injectors. One of those was used on Thursday, April 4 by KDPS Sgt. Aaron Popa to save a life by preventing a potentially deadly overdose.

“Sometimes, our police officers are on scenes a few seconds ahead of EMS,” said Scott Yost, village manager and KDPS director. “Those few seconds can be critical.”

The auto injectors allow an officer to administer Narcan to a person who has overdosed on opioids, whether intentionally or by accident.

“We’re not replacing EMS, just trying to supplement the good work they do,” said Yost, himself a former paramedic. “Police officers often get sent to scenes first, to determine what’s going on. And, in those few seconds, they can now act.”

On April 4, Popa said he was called to the scene of a possible overdose at a business near Oak and Maple streets. Upon arriving and assessing the situation, Popa administered the Narcan to a Kalkaska woman in her 20s.

“Essentially, Sgt. Popa saved a life,” Yost told members of the Kalkaska Village Council at their regular meeting Monday, April 8.

He added that it was the first time a KDPS have used one of the Narcan kits.

Popa thanked Yost for making sure village officers had such a tool, adding it was an “amazing feeling” to help save a life.

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