Sioux Falls, S.D. – Opioid abuse is a growing epidemic across the country and for a while now, first responders have been stocking up on a nasal spray known as NARCAN. It’s not just humans in danger of overdosing. Often times the ones most at risk of encountering those dangerous drugs is man’s best friend.
Meet Dorack. He’s just one of the Sioux Falls Police Departments K-9 dogs trained to sniff out drugs.
“We regularly train our dogs using some of the opiates, heroin and drugs like that.” Officer Shannon Irish said.
The presence of those types of drugs and other opioids continue to rise.
“Some of these drugs like the fentanyl’s and the carfentanyl’s and the things are getting mixed in with street drugs like heroin. It’s very potent so potent that maybe people who are regular drug users, it’s too potent for them,” Irish said.
If they overdose NARCAN comes in.
“It brings their breathing and their body activity back to normal. A lot of these people are on the verge of death when we are giving it to them and it’s bringing them back,” Irish said.
On any given day, police and their K-9’s are coming into contact with these deadly drugs and sniffing them out is no easy task.
“Their noses are so much better than ours. His sitting, his breathing changes. He’ll stop just like that. He will go up, he’ll sniff it, he’ll stop, and he’ll sit down. That’s his indication for the oodor presence odor of narcotics.”
Because these K-9’s are often the first to sniff out these drugs, many times they need to be saved from an overdose.
“Their exposure is probably more likely than what an officer is in many circumstance because they’re going to be there sniffing before an officers going to be in the area,” Irish said.
To protect their four legged partners, officers always have two doses of NARCAN with them at all times.
“They live with us. I spend more time with this dog then I do with my own family. I’m with him 24 hours a day. Very important to have,” Irish said.
Officers said they thankfully have never needed to use NARCAN on themselves or their dogs, but they are glad to know it’s there and that they or someone else can administer if they need it. Officers said NARCAN won’t do any harm, so they will administer it to anyone or their dogs if they think they are overdosing