Law enforcement prevent fatal heroin, opiate overdoses with one drug
Last year, a New Jersey woman called 911 to report that a passenger in her vehicle was unresponsive and not breathing. Shortly after the woman began performing CPR on the victim, law enforcement responded to the scene and determined the victim was under the influence of heroin.
After the officers administered Naloxone Hydrochloride (Narcan) the victim began breathing in seconds, marking another life saved by Narcan, Florham Park Eagle reports.
Narcan is an aerosol version of Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that can be used to counter the effects of an opiate overdose by displacing opioids from the receptors in the brain that control the central nervous system and respiratory system.
Opiate abuse in the U.S. has increased significantly over the past decade. According to a report by the Drug Enforcement Administration, deaths caused by heroin overdoses increased by 172 percent between 2010 and 2013. With the number of overdoes on the rise in America, the drug Narcan has become lifesaving for communities hit hardest by this fatal epidemic.
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In Indianapolis, Republican Sen. Jim Merritt says the number of lives saved by Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services with Narcan has risen from 629 in 2013 to more than 1,150 in 2015.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recently purchased 4,500 Narcan kits to be distributed in the state's public health networks. "Naloxone or Narcan is not a silver bullet, but it saves lives," Laconia Deputy Fire Chief Sean Reilly said during the distribution meeting.
Morris County officials in New Jersey recently announced that during 2015, law enforcement agencies in the county saved 42 people from succumbing to a fatal opiate overdose through the administration of Narcan.
In 2015 the FDA approved the first nasal spray version of Naloxone Hydrochloride. Narcan nasal spray can be purchased in most counties with a prescription, but many are taking steps to make the drug available over the counter.
Although Narcan has saved multiple lives in the past year, critics claim that wider access to Narcan would promote drug use by giving users a sense of security. Despite these claims officials across the country are calling for the drug to be more accessible.
Related: Heroin is a formidable foe in southern Ohio county: