PITTSBURGH - With a heroin epidemic impacting several Western Pennsylvania Counties, there is now a push to arm police officers with a life-saving drug that can counter the effects of an overdose.
Ramona Kinsey has seen the effects of naloxone, or narcan, firsthand.
Her son, Tom, was addicted to heroin for 11 years.
He’d overdose and come close to dying.
She is sure without naloxone, her son would be dead.
“I know of at least two times it saved his life,” she told Channel 11’s Joe Holden.
Right now, doctors and paramedics like Kate Morgan can carry and administer naloxone in Pennsylvania.
“I can tell you hands on it has saved lives,” the Murrysville medic said. “Administer the medication and you'll actually see them take the first breath, their chest rise and you know the medication is in fact working.”
In the last three years, nearly 70 people in Westmoreland County have died from heroin overdoses.
State Sen. Kim Ward introduced a bill that would arm police, family and friends with the antidote.
“It is so devastating. It is devastating to families,” she said. “I think every tool we can offer and help with is important.”
However, Morgan and others in law enforcement have concerns about adequate training and possible legal issues.
For Ramona Kinsey, it is a no brainer.
“He would be dead if that was not available. I know it,” she said.
Sixteen other states have passed a similar bill.
Ramona said her son has been clean for a year.