The Donna Independent School District will train its police officers Wednesday in administering Narcan, an antidote to treat narcotic and opioid overdose.
School board members approved an agreement in April with the Valley Aids Council, which will supply the antidote to the district. The organization will assist district police officers in using Narcan in emergency situations.
Wednesday’s training at the Administration Complex Staff Development Center will be an initial instructional session with police supervisors, who will in turn train the rest of the department as time goes on.
Donna ISD Police Chief Daniel Walden said the district currently does not have a major problem with narcotic overdose, but there is a need to be “proactive” as the prevalence of opioids, such as fentanyl, increases.
The department is not expecting a certain amount of cases, but is instead focused on averting the issue, Walden said.
“Even though it may not be a real big epidemic for us now in the Valley, nationwide it is getting worse… it’s better to be safe and have the life-saving tools available instead of being reactive to it,” Walden said.
The partnership will increase the readiness and knowledge of the department, which can also assist other agencies beyond district schools, he said.
Eventually district police officers will carry and use Narcan nasal spray with proper certifications, he added.
“As anything that you use in law enforcement, you need to be trained on it properly, you know what to look for, and how to properly use (it),” Walden said.
Police officers who may be accidentally exposed to the substances while undergoing job duties will have the proper training and resources to help themselves, he said.
The relationship with the Valley Aids Council will benefit the district not only in expertise, but financially as well because the product is expensive and will potentially save the district thousands of dollars, Donna Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez said.
“We are trying to be proactive, always trying to be ahead of the game,” Azaiez said.
Law enforcement needs proper preparedness in a field that is changing, Walden added, “rather than waiting for something (to) happen and you deal with it later on.”