PONTIAC, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – There's a new nasal spray that reverses an opioid overdose, and its manufacturer, Indivior, says the Oakland County Sheriff's Office is the first law enforcement agency in the country to deploy it on the streets.
The spray is called Opvee.
"It's going to be deployed immediately by us," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
Although it's similar to Narcan in that it blocks the effects of opioids in the brain, Indivior says it stayer longer in the body than others.
"Our deputies get there, and they make a quick diagnosis, and they administer the antagonist. And hopefully, it has results. And oftentimes, they try again and again. And then ultimately, if they can revive the person, get them breathing and conscious, then they're transferred over to medical care," Bouchard said.
In May, the FDA approved the nasal spray that uses the drug nalmefene to restore normal breathing and blood pressure during an overdose.
"It's the first and only nasal opioid rescue medication that is specifically approved for synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, in addition to nonsynthetic opioids," said Nina de Lorenzo, Chief Global Impact Officer at Indivior.
State data shows synthetic drug overdoses, including fentanyl, killed more than 1,900 Michiganders in 2020.
Steve Norris, the harm reduction/recovery support director at the Alliance of Coalitions for Health Communities, says about 250 people die in Oakland County every year because of an overdose.
"And a majority of those are what we refer to as opioid naive. So these are first-time people that don't necessarily have an issue of substance use disorder, but they're essentially trying a pill that they might believe is a Xanax or an Adderall. It's actually a counterfeit," Norris said.
He's now training law enforcement on how to administer Opvee.
"The important part here is the observation from our law enforcement community when they're deploying it, as well as the follow-up questions that we're going to be surveilling at the end to see what the experience for the person receiving that medication is so that we can check the efficacy of it," Norris said.
Sheriff Bouchard says funding for the first 200 doses of Opvee is coming from a $7,500 donation from the Oakland County Health Network.
"The possibilities for us to save people or interact with people that previously have not shown much responsiveness because of the synthetic fentanyl is really a game changer for us," Bouchard said.