Opioid crisis affects police dogs, too

Friday, January 26, 2018 General News
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Organizations collaborate to provide overdose prevention training

HAMILTON, N.J., Jan. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- For Paul Ressler, president and CEO of The

Overdose Prevention Agency Corp., every life is precious, and that includes K-9s.

Ressler, as well as representatives in the local and national medical and law enforcement communities, have cautioned that canine police units can be put in deadly situations as they sniff out drugs. As a result, Ressler with Sgt. Scott Kivet of the Robbinsville PD and Sgt. Joseph Angarone of the Mercer County Prosecutors Office have coordinated efforts for TOPAC to partner with area law enforcement and NorthStar VETS to provide training to administer the opioid antidote naloxone in case of emergencies. This important training will take place January 30 at 10 a.m. at NorthStar VETS, 315 Robbinsville-Allentown Road, Robbinsville. The training will be preceded by a press conference at 9:15 a.m.

Precautions such as using naloxone, better known as Narcan, are necessary due to the increasing presence of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids which can be more than 50 times stronger than heroin or prescription painkillers. Since the drug detection dogs use their noses in the course of doing their job, they are at great risk of inhalation or ingestion of the dangerous substances.

"I felt compelled to do this for the dogs," Ressler said. He will dedicate this program to his late son Corey, and thus the project will be named "Corey's K-9s."

"Police K-9s are on the frontlines of combating the opioid epidemic and they face a high risk of exposure to narcotics," Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri said. "These dogs don't search for drugs with eyes and hands like their human counterparts. They are actually breathing them in.  The Mercer County law enforcement community is extremely fortunate to have partnered with TOPAC, the U.S. Police K-9 Association and NorthStar VETS to provide the naloxone kits for dogs and the necessary training to their handlers. With the uptick in heroin and fentanyl seizures in Mercer County and across the state, it is critical we give officers the ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of exposure, and the antidote necessary to save their K-9 partners."

Barbara Maton, DVM, DACVECC, a veterinary Emergency and Critical Care specialist at NorthStar VETS, said, "K-9 officers can be affected by the street drugs they sniff out, but keeping them safe on the job allows them to continue to serve our communities well. (The Jan. 30) training ensures that law enforcement knows how to properly administer life-saving Naloxone to their K-9 partners out in the field when necessary. NorthStar VETS is proud to partner with law enforcement and TOPAC to protect these important working dogs through this training."

For additional information, contact TOPAC at (609) 581-0600 or topac@overdosepreventionagency.org.

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/opioid-crisis-affects-police-dogs-too-300588706.html

SOURCE NorthStar VETS; The Overdose Prevention Agency Corp.

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