BOISE - As the opioid crisis continues to grow across the nation, law enforcement agencies are making sure their officers have all the tools they need to stay safe.
In Idaho, the state police have issued the overdose reversal drug naloxone to all its troopers including K9s.
"Our dogs are also at risk of exposure,” said ISP Sgt. Ken Yount. “Each time we deploy them they're at risk of being exposed to controlled substances."
Law enforcement officers from different agencies across the state have been carrying Narcan, which is naloxone in the form of a nasal spray. Idaho State Police is giving troopers with K9s an injectable dose specifically for the dogs.
“It's no different to a dog than it is to a human,” Yount said. “The potential risk for an overdose is there.”
The dogs are trained to sniff out and locate controlled substances that can be dangerous. Common drugs troopers come across are heroin and fentanyl.
“We're finding that heroin, it's definitely more potent than it has been in the past. The strain that we're seeing now. Fentanyl as well,” Yount said. "It can be 10 to 100 times stronger than morphine. So the risk is there, availability of these drugs is ever increasing."
Drugs as dangerous as those are what the K9s are exposed to. Meaning every time they go out, there’s a risk of having an overdose.
"That rapid intense sniffing is bringing a lot of odor into their nasal passageway, and that's when they're at the highest risk of having an exposure,” Yount said.
Each K9 kit costs around $150.
ISP said there has not been a situation where the K9 kit or Narcan has been used.
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