Officers with the Dunwoody Police Department began carrying a drug known as naloxone in 2015 after seeing an uptick of opioid overdoses in the city. The drug has been used 13 times over the past three years to treat overdose victims, saving 12 people’s lives.

Journalist Max Blau, far left, Reporter Newspapers Managing Editor John Ruch and Dunwoody Police Sgt. Robert Parsons discussed the opioid epidemic during the inaugural “Reporter Extra” podcast.

Sgt. Robert Parsons of the DPD shared that information during the inaugural episode of Reporter Newspaper’s new podcast, “Reporter Extra,” as part of our exclusive series, “Coping with a Crisis: Opioid addiction in the suburbs,” and how it is affecting the communities we serve.

Managing Editor John Ruch sat down recently with Sgt. Parsons and journalist Max Blau, who wrote the series for Reporter Newspapers and has covered the opioid crisis for other media outlets such as CNN and the Boston Globe, to discuss the epidemic and the dangers it poses as well as how law enforcement and medical experts are responding to it.

Parsons led the effort to bring naloxone to the the Dunwoody Police Department as a direct result of what officers were seeing in their community and a desire to find ways to save lives of people in the city who overdosed, he said during the podcast.

A grant in 2015 provided the department with auto injectors of naloxone that were administered with an injection into the thigh. After the grant ran out in 2016, the department switched to a naloxone nasal spray that is administered much like a nasal spray. The spray is able to quickly revive a person who has quit breathing due to an overdose, Parsons explained.

“In a matter of seconds, people start breathing again,” he said.

Parsons added that recently, officers are having to administer several doses to naloxone due to the increasing strength of opioids.

To hear the entire the podcast, click below. To view a Facebook video of the discussion, go to

Listen to “Reporter Extra” on Spreaker.

To read the first story in our “Coping with a Crisis” series, about families using obituaries to tell the harsh truth of loved ones’ overdose deaths, click here. For the second story, about a Dunwoody man who runs treatment facilities for opioid users after surviving eight overdoses and facing prison time, click here. For the third story, about how a suburban mother started peddling fentanyl and became the target of federal prosecutors, click here. For a local emergency department doctor’s overview of the opioid crisis, click here. To share your thoughts and stories, email

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.