Narcan for K-9s: Local police departments beef up protection for police pups

MEDINA- It's no secret drugs like heroin and fentanyl are plaguing many coroners of Northeast Ohio. What you may not realize is the danger it's posing to police K-9s working to keep us safe.

"They [drug users] sometimes spill narcotics or have exposed needles if your dog is going to be around that the potential for danger is really real," explained Montville Police Officer Ryan Gibbons.

FOX 8 was there today as  Medina County Sheriff handlers and area police trained with their K-9's in an abandoned house in Medina.

For about the past year sheriff handlers along with Montville Police have been carrying Narcan, the overdose reversing drug specifically for their K-9s to use. Neither has needed to administer the drug.

The dogs are often the first to come into contact with drugs before they are seized. In some classes simply touching the drug could result in a medical emergency.

In May, an East Liverpool officer accidentally overdosed after touching powder on his shirt following an arrest. It was residue from the opioid fentanyl potentially in deadly even in small doses.

"Hopefully I never have to deal with giving my dog narcan but it's great knowing that it's readily available," said Deputy Jarret Furey with the Medina County Sheriff.

It's a trend happening in departments of all sizes. Cleveland Police canine handlers are specially trained to spot a K-9 overdose and administer the drug.