Holly Springs police officers will be the first in Georgia to carry anti-overdose medication when they respond to calls.
The effort was spearheaded by Lt. Tanya Smith, whose daughter overdosed last year and her friends allegedly left her to die.
"Whatever stupid decision that you make, don't do that, call us," Smith told CBS46 News. "We'll get there. We'll do what we can. We'll give them a second chance, and then you walk away."
Smith's 20-year-old daughter, Taylor, was found dead on the side of a road in Jasper County in August of 2013. Smith said Taylor had an asthma attack after overdosing on methamphetamine. She said her daughter's friends panicked and then dumped her body on the roadside.
"Given what I've heard about her case, that she lay there for a couple of hours, that could have been used to save her life," said Smith.
The passage of a 911 amnesty law this year allows a person to call for help when someone has overdosed without fear of being arrested. It also clears the way for officers to administer the anti-overdose medication.
The medicine is Naloxone, a nasal spray also known as Narcan. Police said their research shows that the drug will not harm a person, even if it's administered to someone who has not overdosed.
"If we have the ability to save one parent, one mom or dad, one brother sister or any family member from feeling that loss then we've done what we need to do and we've done it right," said Chief Ken Ball.
Naloxone reverses the effects of an opiate overdose. Opiates include Oxycontin, Vicodin and Hydrocodone. Police said they are seeing a growing number of overdoses on opiates.
Holly Springs police will take a brief training course next week and will immediately be cleared to use Naloxone.
"Why haven't we been doing this all along? Where has this been? Why have all these people died?" asked Smith. "If there is one mother out there that doesn't have to bury her child because of the 911 law or because of Naloxone, then I can go in peace."
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Thursday, March 27 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-03-28 00:56:41 GMT
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