In August, the Pulaski County, Missouri, police captain Johnny Burgess ran his team through a new kind of training exercise. Divided into pairs, each officer practiced plunging a nasal atomizer into the nostril of the other. Burgess cautioned them not to push too hard: “You’re not digging for gold.”
They were learning to dose a potential victim with intranasal naloxone, or Narcan, a drug that can instantly reverse an opioid overdose. The training was the culmination of months of effort by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s department to overcome logistical hurdles and outfit its officers with the overdose antidote.