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Special drug reverses heroin overdose

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Posted: Jan 31, 2014 10:11 PM by Brittany Weiss
Updated: Jan 31, 2014 11:23 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: opiate, Narcan, Heroin, Drugs, EMS, Coroner

BATON ROUGE - Medical professionals say there's a way to give people a second chance who are overdosing on opiate drugs.

Paramedics have been using Naloxone Hydrochloride, or Narcan, for years. It reverses an opiate overdose, instantly.

EMS Unit Commander Chris Landry said it works quickly, saying "sometimes it works within a minute or two."

Last year, EMS administered 315 doses of Narcan in Baton Rouge. Some patients required more than one dose.

Common opiates include Hydrocodone, Morphine and Heroin.

"The problem is now is there's a resurgence in it because now all of the sudden, it's more prevalent on the streets, it's cheaper, it's easier for the folks to get and they're using it a lot more," said Landry.

The number of opiate abusers is skyrocketing. In 2013, 31 people in Baton Rouge died with heroin in their system. In 2012, there were five.

With the drug problem increasing, police departments around the county are taking a look at manning their police officers with Narcan.

Doing that would require some extra training.

"If you're not a trained professional or medic or a physician or a nurse, then you could potentially be stuck in a pretty bad scenario," said East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William "Beau" Clark.

"Basically fixed one problem and created another."

Clark says police officers are capable of administering the drug, but not always prepared for the worst-case scenario, like EMS are.

So far this year, EMS has given 26 doses of Narcan.

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