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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Police Saving Lives With Narcan

Narcan (naloxone) is a drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose and has been distributed free to opioid users and their families over the past few years in a number of states around the country. The results have shown that it has saved a number of lives that, in most cases, would have otherwise been lost to overdose.

In Quincy, Massachusetts, the police department is the first in the nation to require every officer to carry the opioid overdose antidote while on patrol. They report a 95 percent success rate with the treatment. Since 2010 officers have used Narcan 179 times, successfully reversing overdoses 170, CBS News reports.

In the nine other overdose cases, five people were found dead on arrival, and the four remaining cases other substances were a factor. Unfortunately, Narcan only reverses opioid overdoses at cost of $22 per dose.

Ryan Donnelly, a Quincy police officer, who has used Narcan to reverse eight overdoses, said, “They’re somebody’s daughter or son or father or brother or mother. That’s what clicks in your head.”

Around 200 officers are trained to use Narcan in Quincy. Narcotics detective Patrick Glynn oversees the Narcan program; he says the police have two doses in every cruiser. “We changed our philosophy,” Glynn said. “It’s just a simple change where we decided that we cannot arrest our way out of this epidemic.”
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