OSBURN — It is no secret that Shoshone County has struggled with a drug problem for some time now.
Drug related incidents are among the top five report offenses in our county, according to Idaho State Police’s (ISP) 2016 crime report.
In an area where sniffing out (pun intended) harmful and illegal substances is key to keeping them off the streets, it is important that our only resident drug detection K9 have the tools to be safe.
Kevin Kessler, ISP Trooper, and his drug detection K9, Ace, have been serving the Silver Valley for some time now.
Ace has made the front page of the News-Press more than once for his work — most recently for an incredibly large marijuana seizure on I-90 last year.
Like a dog with a bone (OK, I’ll stop after this one), Ace and Kessler work tirelessly to make our community better in their own way.
But like with any law enforcement job, there are always risks to ones health.
Kessler said that the most common opiate that he and Ace (and law enforcement in general) come across nowadays is heroin.
“Now, drug cartels are lacing heroin with fentanyl (an opioid pain medication) and even carfentanil (a synthetic opioid of fentanyl that is 10,000 time stronger than morphine) which are extremely potent and a person or animal can easily overdose.”
For someone who’s job is to stick their nose right next to these substances, this information could be concerning.
In order to plan for the worst, Kessler and K9’s of Valor (an all volunteer, non-profit organization that raises money and provides equipment to K9 teams) teamed up to acquire a narcan (otherwise known as nalaxone, an opiate antidote) drug overdose kit.
This kit, Kessler explained, is designed “to provide a one time life saving nasal spray to a dog to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The kit includes the Narcan itself and a duty belt holder from Narcase-Tac Life Systems LLC.”
In just one day, the necessary funds were raised through donation and the crime fighting duo should receive the equipment within a week.
When it comes to the charity of others though, sometime you just can’t hold back the flood gates.
After the funds were raised for the narcan kit, money continued to pour in, so Kessler and Ace will be getting even more helpful gear.
In addition the overdose kit, they will receive an updated first aid kit outfitted with a K9 first aid aspirator/resuscitator.
Kessler said that “this new kit could easily save the life of Ace or another dog that has stopped breathing or their heartbeat has stopped. The kit is made by Elite K9 and consists of aspirator/resuscitator pump, large aspirator mask, supplemental oxygen adaptor, resuscitator mask, oxygen recovery mask, and a heavy duty water resistant bag.”
Although Ace has never had any major injuries on the job, you can never be to careful.
“The kits will help Ace and I with our job because if he has a major medical emergency or is exposed to an opioid and begins to overdose,” Kessler explained, “we may not make the trip to the veterinarian before he dies. But with these kits we can make immediate medical care happen.”
Kits such as these are beginning to come standard equipment for K9 units across the county.
Now, if the worse happens and Ace is exposed to these harmful drugs, he can get the help he needs right away.
If anyone would like to donate to this cause for other K9 teams, go to Facebook and find K9’s of Valor.
The donations are tax-deductible.