NOPD officers to start carrying overdose drug Narcan

NEW ORLEANS -- Police officers in New Orleans are getting a tool to help stop deadly opioid overdoses.

They'll soon be carrying Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in just three minutes.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu made the announcement this week as part of the city's campaign to educate people on overdose prevention and addiction counseling.

There were 166 opioid deaths in New Orleans last year. For the first time in the city's history, drug deaths surpassed homicides in 2016.

Included in the 166 opiate deaths were more than three times the number of cases involving fentanyl, a powerful and often deadly synthetic opioid.

The coroner’s office reports that 48 people in New Orleans died with fentanyl in their system last year. That’s up from 13 people in 2015.

Although opiate-related drug deaths were the highest, the coroner’s office said most drug-related deaths showed the presence of multiple drugs.

The U.S. Justice Department has given New Orleans a grant worth almost $300,000 to combat the opioid epidemic.