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Narcan Initiative – Get SAFE with Tracker Products

May 18, 2023

The Fentanyl crisis in the United States has reached epidemic levels in the past several years, and Tracker Products is committed to delivering SAFE solutions like Narcan. 

James Nally of Tracker Products has worked tirelessly as an advocate for the evidence management community to identify sources where they can obtain free Narcan – a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose – for this at-risk division of law enforcement. 

James realized there would be no better time or place to deliver his message to hundreds of evidence custodians in California than during a breakout session at the 2023 CAPE (the California Association of Property and Evidence) Annual Training Seminar that took place in Orange County at the beginning of April. 

Video of the Narcan Breakout Session at the CAPE Conference (3 min.)

 

In addition to reaching out to local health organizations to source the product, he has also identified a link to grants and free resources in California, so that evidence custodians can give that information to the safety coordinators in their departments. In order to be a sustainable program, the safety coordinators will be able to use the resources to request additional free doses of Narcan in perpetuity.

James delivered his message to hundreds of evidence custodians in California during a breakout session at the 2023 CAPE Annual Training Seminar that took place in Orange Country at the beginning of April.  Together with David Marks, the Associate Director of Sales for Tracker Products, they created a flier for distribution through the CAPE app and promoted Narcan at the Monday Night Mixer and a Tuesday night vendor stroll.

Get Involved

While the Narcan effort at the CAPE Conference was a success, it was just the beginning of the mission that we hope to take nationwide. If you’re interested in partnering with Tracker Products to co-sponsor this type of event alongside an Evidence Management Training Seminar or an Evidence Management State Association event, email us at sales@trackerproducts.com

 

Tracker Products was proud to co-sponsor this initiative along with the Orange County Healthcare Agency. Their shared mission? To educate the evidence management community about the benefits of – and sources for – Narcan, and to provide free Narcan samples to the attendees of the conference.

 

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***Pictured above: The OCHCA Staff team members that provided Naloxone and resources were Glenda Aguilar, Wendy Banicki, Letty Luna-Pinto, Wendy Elliott, Vuthy Yam, Deana Scarberry, Carol Triplett, and Tracy Rick…..And, not pictured was the instructor Don Bartosik (Shown below) 

Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance that has been the source of thousands of overdose deaths across the country. Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous opioid drug that can result in the death of an unsuspecting person who is exposed to it. It is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic, according to the DEA.Gov website. 

RELATED ARTICLE: THE ONE ABOUT FENTANYL – PART 1

In 2021 alone, the Fentanyl category of opioids accounted for 67,325 preventable deaths, according to the National Safety Council. One of the best ways to counter and reverse a Fentanyl overdose is with the drug Naloxone; brand-named “Narcan”.   

While anyone may be exposed to Fentanyl, certain groups of people are at risk of higher rates of exposure, including first responders, EMTs/Paramedics, Medical Professionals, and Law Enforcement. While it is usually Patrol Officers on the law enforcement side who first come into contact with Fentanyl when responding to calls, it is evidence technicians who are at the highest exposure risk, as they are tasked with the short and long-term custody of seized drugs that may be laced with it.  

Property and Evidence Fentanyl Risks Video (1:38 min.)

 

There are numerous programs, social service agencies, federal grants, and other resources available to individuals & communities to help combat this rising issue of Fentanyl. This is incredibly important because some rural communities do not have easy access to resources, so it is very difficult to manage their safety when exposed to Fentanyl. 

Interviews During the Cape Conference

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Joe Moralli from the Chico Police Department in California

David said, “How did you first learn about Narcan?”

Joe said, “We had overdoses in a home where 12 people were down. Our officers went into that residence and administered Narcan. They saved all but two of those lives that day. So we felt the need to bring Narcan to the department. In the event of an overdose or exposure within the department, we would have something to save our personnel.”

David said, “You’ve been coming to CAPE for several years now to get training and education. Is there any experience from prior CAPE events where these types of giveaways have been rendered before? And do you think that will be important for other state associations and property members?”

Joe said, “I have actually been coming to the CAPE conferences since 2001, and I have never seen free Narcan or any kind of tool like this available for free to our members. I think this is a great asset to CAPE so that we have the tools we need to bring back to our departments.”

 

 

David said, “Was there anything about this experience that would make you look at Tracker Products a little bit differently if we were able to offer other resources like this or other services in the future to the CAPE Organization or to agencies in general?”

Joe said, “I appreciate the fact that Tracker was able to bring this to us. I think without Tracker’s involvement, we wouldn’t have this opportunity to get this Narcan for our departments. So, it’s something that’s valuable to us. Thank you for that resource.”

 

Rachelle LaPan with the Pismo Beach Police Department in California

Rachelle said, “I’ve worked for 21 years in Property and Evidence. I was introduced to CAPE in 2003 but didn’t really get into it until 2006, when I became more aware of my job responsibilities. Since 2006, I’ve been heavily involved in CAPE, in both the local chapter as well as on the state board.”

David asked, “What is the larger goal of CAPE, and what has your experience been with the organization?”

Rachelle said, “CAPE is run by property and evidence for property and evidence. We are the support, the networking, and the training. Property and evidence tend to be kind of left behind a little bit in the world of law enforcement. I always say that it’s because we do our job so well that they don’t see how important it is. They only really see how important a job is with property and evidence when something goes wrong. 

So CAPE was developed to be that support, to bring that training, to bring that networking. And, because California is so big, we have a large entity of law enforcement, and we have a lot of property and evidence officers. I’ve seen CAPE become super successful since I’ve been a part of it, and I promote it highly every year.”

David said, “You seem to have a true passion for the work that you do. Can you tell me a little bit about where that passion comes from?”

Rachelle said, “I think it’s the personality of the individual. I think Type A personalities tend to be more driven toward this area. It’s a bit stringent. You have to stay in the black and white of it all. You have to have it organized. You have to be on top of your game. And I think individuals like that tend to be drawn towards property and evidence. 

We work well on our own. It’s very minor supervision that’s ever needed. A lot of times, we’re training our bosses on how we do our jobs and how they supervise us sometimes. And I think the type of person that can work alone, that self-starter, self initiates and loves what they do and are committed to being able to go home every day, look in the mirror and say, I did a good job and I was successful for our agency.

 

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David asked, “What is your experience with Narcan? How did you first hear about it?”

Rachelle said, “Narcan came on the beat in California around 2013/2014. Some of the overdose incidents started drawing the government’s attention, and we needed to figure out what to do. I believe 2016 was when it was first brought up as a solution in CAPE.

James Nally, who’s a Tracker employee, was one that drew that passion in, and it has been his passion ever since. He wants to get that information out, try to change legislation to protect property and evidence officers, and provide Narcan as a safety measure for the exposure possibilities they may have.”

David asked, “Have you or anyone in your agency been personally impacted by Narcan in the field?”

Rachelle said, “We’re a small agency, but Narcan is everywhere. And it’s not just the Fentanyl itself, but how it may be added to other types of drugs that are being used illicitly in the community. 

Recently, up in our area of San Luis Obispo County, we’ve had several Fentanyl overdoses. So, it’s starting to come up into the local county areas that are not so much inner city. I’d say in the last three months, we’ve had six overdoses in our area of 25 square miles. So it’s out there, and we know that it’s affecting people. 

The interesting thing is that we’ve had a lot of homeless folks that have found the free Narcan through the health clinics within the county. And it has been just recently that our safety officers and our law enforcement agencies have realized that by applying for county help to get the distribution of Narcan within the law enforcement agencies – to have it in their units, to have it in their patrol agencies, to have it in their property rooms – has just come to light in the last couple of years.” 

David said, “What would you say your takeaway from today was with regard to Narcan? Obviously, you’ve been exposed to the benefits, and you’ve had some level of training before. But what type of value do you see in these types of initiatives?”

 

 

Rachelle said, “It’s priceless. I really thank the Orange County Healthcare Agency that came here today and worked with Tracker. It is kind of like the fruition of James Nally’s dream to get Narcan into the hands of the people that need it. The property and evidence officers have some of the greatest risks in handling Fentanyl, making sure it’s stored safely and remains safely stored.

Having this presentation at this time is really valuable because we have over 50% new property and evidence employees participating in this seminar this year. There’s been such a turnaround of employees. Now we’re able to get ’em right when they come in and get this drilled into them that this is important. 

This training has been invaluable. We so appreciate Tracker Products, the California Association of Property and Evidence (CAPE), and the Orange County Healthcare Agency for being of assistance to our jobs. I’ll take this information back to save the lives of people in our community.”

 

Don Bartosik, trainer and consultant with the Hazelwood and Betty Ford Foundation

Don introduced himself by saying, “We are a nationwide organization that serves high-risk communities; communities that are in need of substance use treatment. So we’re a treatment provider, but we’re also a consulting entity. We share a lot of information about evidence-based practices in areas that need it; trying to harness the power of hope and healing.”

David asked, “With regards to Fentanyl exposure, how does your organization address Narcan training, and what groups do you serve?”

Don said, “One of our partnerships is with the Orange County Healthcare Agency; that’s a big part of what we’ve been doing. We offer a lot of opioid awareness training and also a lot of information about, What is Narcan? How does it actually impact the community? How can folks access it, and how do folks use it? Because it is a life-saving medication, and we want to get the information out there as much as possible.”

 

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David asked, “Typically, what size are your training classes?”

Don said, “That’s a great question. The short answer is, it varies. There are times when we do training for a group of 10 folks, but we’ve done training for groups of several hundred. It just depends on the organization, and it depends on the need. But our hope is that the more we can get information out to the community and educate the community, the healthier the community will be.”

David said, “You’re a national organization. So different states across the country could reach out to your organization to try to get the type of training you offer, with regards to understanding the drug Fentanyl and Narcan’s lifesaving applications?”

Don said, “Yes. Fentanyl is an overdose epidemic that’s hurt communities across the country. So we’ve had individual entities reach out to us to ask about training, education, and consulting, but we’ve also had entire states ask us to educate their entire workforce, so they can specialize in what to look for.”

RELATED ARTICLE: THE ONE ABOUT FENTANYL – PART 2

David said, “Is there anything you would like to say either on behalf of yourself or the company to people that need to learn about Fentanyl?”

Don said, “There’s a lot of research that shows… The more you can inundate the community with Naloxone, which is the generic name for Narcan, the healthier the community will be. And I feel really fortunate to be at this conference today, because when I think about folks who serve, oftentimes we think about low-resource, high-need, or high-risk communities. I usually think about it in terms of income status or crime rates, right?

I hadn’t thought about it in terms of the property and evidence world. So being able to think about it in a little bit different way and how they’re at great risk, is eye-opening. They’re at risk for exposure to any kind of drug that might be laced with Fentanyl, more so than the average person. The average person walking down the street probably will not be handling a bag of drugs that happens to be laced with Fentanyl. So I think increasing awareness in that arena is really, really important.”

David asked, “Do you think other branches nationally would work with Tracker Products or organizations like us to help get the word out and to help sponsor these types of free Narcan giveaways?”

Don said, “I actually think that the folks who are here at this conference are really fortunate because Tracker was able to offer folks free Naloxone, and that’s something that folks don’t know. They don’t normally go to a conference to get something. So I would think that being able to do that on a larger scale would be really powerful. 

 

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I actually talked with James Nally about this particular conference and found that his passion was pretty palpable about being able to protect people that he used to work with and get the information out there. So the fact that he was able to do this with Tracker and with Orange County Healthcare Agency is awesome.

Something that people don’t usually know about Naloxone is that it’s not an addictive drug, and you can’t hurt anybody by giving it to them. Its main design is to save lives. It reverses an opioid overdose. People will live because they’ve been given a dose of Narcan.”

 

 

 

 

James Nally with Tracker Products

James introduced himself by saying, “My former position was with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as a property evidence officer for just under 30 years. I don’t think anyone could work that long in property evidence without being an advocate for what they do and taking pride in their unit.”

David asked, “What drew you to property and evidence, or where did that passion stem from?”

James said, “It was actually a fluke. One of my classmates from the academy went into property first, and the way it works with our unit is that you get sponsored by someone else that is currently in the unit that knows you and knows that you’d be a good fit. So I was actually recruited by a classmate to go into property evidence.”

David asked, “When did you become aware of, or involved with CAPE?”

James said, “The very first CAPE state seminar I attended was in 2012 in South San Francisco. And I saw there were other people that were just like me, and it really resonated. I wanted to be a bigger part of that. I wanted to take a bigger role. So I volunteered to work as a president for the Orange County chapter for a couple of years. Then in 2014, our State Board was hosting the seminar in Newport Beach, and since I was the OC President, they asked me to help them.

David asked, “When did you first become aware of Fentanyl, and why did you jump so heavily into learning about it?”

RELATED (3 min.) VIDEO: Fentanyl Exposure Risks – May harm officers and coworkers while on duty, or may spread to family or others when off duty.

James said, “I don’t think it was intentional. In law enforcement, I don’t think you become a SME (Subject Matter Expert) unless that topic falls into your backyard. And that’s exactly what happened. In 2016, our coroner’s office had a slew of accidental overdoses. Our crime lab handles the toxicology and drug analysis for the Coroner’s office and, upon analyzing the remnants of narcotics found at the scene and tissue samples, determined that there was Fentanyl. This was, to my knowledge, the first time they tested specifically for Fentanyl.

So our assistant crime lab director, who understood the ramifications of handling fentanyl, sounded the alarm and got everyone in our agency involved. She helped us to understand it as a synthetic man-made drug, that is extremely powerful along with transdermal consequences. As a result of those briefings, we started changing our process for all levels of handling narcotics. From discontinuing field or presumptive testing, to how deputies collected, handled, and of course, packaged narcotics in the field. 

David asked, “Did you have any personal incidents?”

 

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James said, “Our agency had a couple of exposures that became public and one close call. We actually had a deputy that became a victim of accidental exposure while booking in narcotics. I think that really really woke everyone up to the dangers of Fentanyl. And we just continued to carry the torch for awareness and prevention.”

David said, “Seeing firsthand the impact that Fentanyl… did that sort of ring the bell hard for you and make you passionate about wanting to get the Narcan out because of your personal experience?” 

James said, “Absolutely. We had never seen anything like that before. Property and evidence continue to evolve all the time. There are always new items that come through our evidence stream that we have to prepare for, whether it’s exploding batteries, e-cigarettes with narcotics, or even transient property with those health concerns, there’s always a risk, and there’s always a danger. So when Fentanyl came along, we were prepared to shift gears and move into that solution stage in order to protect our staff.”

RELATED ARTICLE: THE ONE ABOUT FENTANYL – PART 3

David asked, “How did you come up with the idea to get free Narcan into the hands of property and evidence technicians?”

James said, “In 2017, the CAPE State Board put out a survey asking agencies, How many folks have Narcan in their property room for protection? We received a staggering result of around 42%, which was just completely unacceptable. So from that point forward, I have always made it my personal mission to get people protected. And finally, we were able to do that today after six years of working continuously on the project.” 

David asked, “After today’s event, did you get a sense of completion, or did you get a sense of This is a great first step?”

James said, “Just a great first step. There’s still so much more to be done legislatively. Protecting staff is my greatest concern. Most property rooms are not adequately ventilated, potentially putting staff in danger. My current goal as an evidence advocate is still trying to change or modify current law, which would allow us to destroy Fentanyl once it’s completed testing from the crime lab. Stockpiling these narcotics, like ticking time bombs in evidence vaults, just puts more at risk and allows for accidents or thefts. We have to find a workaround that protects the suspect’s constitutional rights but also protects those that come in contact as part of their daily duties.”

David said, “At today’s event, with knowing many of the people in the audience, did you see an emotional impact from this effort?”

 

 

James said, “I can’t really tell you if I specifically saw an emotional impact, but I think our property folks realize that this is an extra layer of protection specifically for them. When they go back to their agency, it won’t just be the department-supplied Narcan in a case somewhere on top of a shelf, but now they’re actually able to clip that to their belt and be mobile. Whether they’re going to the crime lab, their intake area, or even working in their drug vault. It makes them more aware and hopefully gets them in the habit of clipping that on their belt before they start working with narcotics. And most importantly, I realize they won’t be able to administer the Narcan spray themselves, but someone that finds them down from exposure, doesn’t have to remember where the Narcan is in the unit, they can simply take it out of the Tracker-provided nylon bag and followed the instructions to administer the spray.”

David asked, “If you could make one statement to other state associations about the vital importance of Narcan and the value of getting it to their property and evidence folks, what would that message be?” 

James said, “First and foremost, Fentanyl is in every state and is saturating our country.  So it’s irresponsible not to have the antidote. It’s such a simple and easy product to use. It would be tragic to lose a staff member(s) from an accidental exposure just because you didn’t have access to Narcan.”

 


 

 

David Marks, Associate Director of Sales for Tracker Products 

David introduced himself by saying, “I’ve been working with Tracker for four years to serve the evidence management industry by providing evidence management software. One of our newest team members, James Nally, came forward with an incredible idea, which was to go to CAPE and provide free Narcan to the members. 

And as soon as James brought this idea with an action plan, I knew that it was something that Tracker Products wanted to support. Our larger mission at Tracker is to serve justice by empowering the evidence management community. We typically do this with our SAFE software, but one of our mission statements is to promote positive change in the culture of evidence management.

Unfortunately, a lot of our evidence units have largely been underserved across the country, and we’re always looking for ways to provide additional value to people. With Fentanyl, we understood that there is an epidemic that needs to be addressed, and this is a wonderful way for us to actually make a direct impact on the people that we’re working with every day. 

Evidence technicians, by the nature of their job, have a higher potential exposure rate to Fentanyl. We really are trying to push an initiative to be able to get this life-saving drug Narcan into their hands so that they can do their job more efficiently and effectively and, ultimately, more safely.

James Nally’s passion for this evidence management community and for the property and evidence industry is infectious. When he talks about his experiences directly with Fentanyl and this crisis, you can really see his passion shine through, and he just wants to help. And you can’t listen and talk with somebody day in and day out, especially on your team, and not get pulled into his passion for making improvements in this community. 

You can really tell that everyone, not just James, but evidence technicians as a whole, care so much about their job. They care so much about making a difference. So being able to put a vital resource, a life-saving drug like Narcan, in their hands, is something that I knew Tracker Products was going to fully support. Our effort now is trying to roll out this type of program across the country.

 

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There are evidence units in every state that could benefit from grants and funding. And sometimes, it’s just a matter of education. People just don’t know that resources exist. Unfortunately, the evidence unit is oftentimes an afterthought with regard to a budget. So, this is a free way for us to promote education and get this resource to them at no cost. 

We’re always looking for organizations to partner with so that we can become more successful in getting the word out about this fentanyl epidemic. Being able to find solutions and ultimately keeping the people that are at the highest risk of exposure protected.

At the end of the day, it’s very simple. Narcan saves lives, and at Tracker, we want people to Get SAFE, and we are willing to provide that safety to them through any means necessary.

Tracker Products is incredibly grateful to have been able to work with CAPE, the California Association for Property and Evidence, as well as the Orange County Healthcare Agency to partner and provide free Narcan to the members of the 2023 CAPE Conference. 

We really appreciate the collaboration because this is such an important industry. These folks work so hard to keep our communities safe and to serve the justice system. So, it’s great to partner in a way that gives back to the evidence management community in a meaningful way.”

Join Our Mission Today!

While the Narcan effort at the CAPE Conference was a success, it was just the beginning of the mission that we hope to take nationwide. If you’re interested in partnering with Tracker Products to co-sponsor this type of event alongside an Evidence Management Training Seminar or an Evidence Management State Association event, email us at sales@trackerproducts.com

Tracker Products and The Evidence Management Institute want to contribute to your ongoing education through a series of FREE online evidence management training videos, Tracker Products webinars, and EMI’s Evidence Show!

To get in on the discussion with over 1000 evidence custodians, join the Evidence Management Community Forum on Facebook. 

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