St. Charles police carrying anti-overdose drug for K-9 officers

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ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Narcan has been used for many years to revive people who've overdosed on drugs. Now many law enforcement agencies are endorsing its use on their K-9 officers who might come in contact with these harmful substances while on the job.

Nitro is one of three K-9 Officers with the St. Charles Police Department.

"We treat them like any police officer and we look out for their safety at all times," said Lt. Tom Wilkison, St. Charles Police Department.

Nitro's handler, Officer Daniel Allen, makes sure of that; especially when it comes to drug searches which they do frequently. The potency of heroin and fentanyl they're finding is proving deadlier, even in small doses.

"It's extremely dangerous not only to us as human beings, but to the dogs especially, because they're taking that in directly to the sinus cavity. It can affect the dog right away," Allen said.

That's why he and the other St. Charles handlers always carry the anti-overdose medication called Narcan to use on their K-9's the same way you would for a human.

Lt. Wilkison said St. Charles officers started carrying Narcan about a year ago. They've used it dozens of times since then to save people's lives. It's a medicine that could also protect them while on the job.

"I believe Narcan is well worth the investment. It is expensive to acquire and maintain. However, it potentially life-saving to officers and K9s," he said.

Many of the larger law enforcement agencies in the St. Louis area already carry Narcan, while some of the smaller departments do not.