Anchorage police are now carrying the overdose reversing drug naloxone.
Police Chief Michael Kerle announced the new policy at the Anchorage Assembly’s Public Safety committee on Wednesday.
“A majority of our officers are carrying Narcan now,” Kerle said, referencing a brand name of naloxone. “We have a few stragglers that have been on leave or haven’t gone through the training, but Narcan is part of APD’s toolkit now.”
In an email Friday, APD spokeswoman Laura Holman clarified that officers are actually using Klaxxado, a brand of naloxone twice as strong as Narcan that the state began distributing to public safety partners last year.
The change comes as opioid deaths in Alaska have skyrocketed in recent years. State data showed a 70 percent spike in opioid overdoses from 2020 to 2021, a majority of them involving the synthetic drug fentanyl.
Anchorage police were among the last major law enforcement agencies in the state to carry naloxone. Agencies including state troopers, Village Public Safety Officers and Wasilla police have all already equipped their officers with the drug.
Anchorage police now carrying naloxone is a major shift from its long-standing policy of Anchorage Fire Department medics carrying it, instead of officers. Anchorage police announced in November that they were finalizing a plan to equip officers with naloxone, after a public push from advocates.
Under the new policy, Anchorage police are to coordinate with the fire department to train officers on administering naloxone.