December 19, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
29°F
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Narcan proving invaluable life saver

LORAIN — Narcan, a drug used to treat opiate overdoses, has become an invaluable resource for police following a rash of overdoses that started in Lorain County a week ago.

Around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Lorain police used Narcan to revive a 31-year-old man suffering from an overdose on Colorado Avenue. Hours later, about 12:30 a.m., police used the drug again to revive a 19-year-old man suffering from an overdose on Reid Avenue on Friday.

Narcan is a drug used to bring people suffering from opiate-related overdoses back to consciousness. Police in Lorain County were issued Narcan nasal spray kits Oct. 12 and allowed to use the drug in overdose cases where police are the first responders to the scene.

Friday’s incident marked the sixth time Lorain police have used Narcan since a week ago, when a rash of overdoses started in Lorain County. The number of overdoses in the county has reached more than 26 in the past week, according to Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino.

While Narcan commonly is used in heroin overdose cases, Lorain police believe that the pain drug fentanyl, not heroin, might be responsible for many of the recent overdoses in their city. Narcan also is effective against fentanyl.

The Elyria Police Department, which also saw an abnormal number of overdoses in the last week, including one Thursday night, suspects pure fentanyl, heroin mixed with fentanyl and another drug — heroin mixed with quinine — to be responsible for many of the overdoses in Elyria, according to Costantino.

Quinine is a drug best known for treating malaria.

Lorain police, Elyria police and the Lorain County Drug Task Force are working closely to investigate the source of the recent fentanyl and heroin sales in the county.

Lorain police made two trafficking arrests Tuesday and Wednesday, and Elyria police conducted a drug raid Friday, which led to five arrests. However, fentanyl was found in only one of the Elyria arrests, according to police.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.