July 26, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
65°F
test

Narcan program expanded for public use

Lobbying from Lorain County helped get a law passed Tuesday allowing people to use a nasal spray to revive heroin addicts.

Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans, Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera, state Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, and leaders of the county’s Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board all sought to legalize Narcan for public use.

Narcan is the brand name for naloxone, a synthetic narcotic that blocks the effects of opiates, such as heroin, on the nervous system. The spray must be administered on an unconscious overdose victim before the person’s heart stops.

In 2013, the Legislature approved a pilot program allowing police to administer Narcan. Between October when the program began and the end of February, police in the county used Narcan 30 times and revived 28 people, Evans said Tuesday. Evans said the program’s success partially spurred legislators to pass the new law.

The law aims to reduce Ohio’s record-high number of fatal overdoses from heroin and painkillers — now the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, surpassing car crashes.

There were a record 67 fatal overdoses in Lorain County in 2013, topping the 2012 record of 60 — compared with 22 each in 2011 and 2010. Evans said there have been eight confirmed fatal overdoses this year.

The law allows licensed prescribers to provide Narcan to an addict’s friends or family members. People administering the drug would be immune from prosecution as long as they call 911 immediately before or after giving the antidote.

It also must be obtained through proper channels. Evans said the board will work to distribute Narcan, which costs about $20 per bottle, to the public.

“We can’t arrest our way out of this epidemic,” he said. “We need to do something to save lives.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

  • Phil Blank

    Hell!
    Let them shoot-up all the dope they want and we will be done with them!
    STOP trying to save the idiots!

    • Dan Bigg

      Phil – Your comment is thoughtful, compassionate and, of course, lifesaving. You should be proud of yourself. Don’t forget that death and disability are not cheap (not every overdose death is deadly, oxygen deprivation injuries are VERY expensive to treat and care for). Are you going to pay for all the sickness and death you want to allow to happen instead of getting people the antidote to the condition? Is this really what you want to stand for?

    • ekwaykway

      I gotta say Phil your comment on this is quite out of character. I hit the like button many times on your comments. Think I’ll pass this time. Not that I haven’t posted things in the past I shouldn’t have.

    • bdid.d

      Seems like it gives them the go ahead to do ” a little ” more… why not ?Someone will save them so they can overdose the next day and probably do a bit of robbery in between.

  • Clair S. Voyant

    Yes very well thought out Phil.

    I think it should be available OTC through the pharmacy. You know how many people that the ambulance won’t have to pick up, or the expense saved by tax payers to pay for their hospital/ER visit.

    • Samantha M. Kelley

      Overdose victims treated with Narcan still have to be taken to the hospital. It buys time so they can make it there alive.

      • Clair S. Voyant

        That may be, but that don’t mean they will. Prosecution is a strong motivator not to if they make it. Still saving tax payer dollars.

  • Jimbo smith

    cool. lets shoot up and see how far we can go, ill bring the narcan

    • Clair S. Voyant

      WOOT! Better bring 2 bottles!

  • Tina Bailey

    That’s real easy to say when the person abusing the heroin or painkillers is not someone you know or love. Have some compassion. What if this were your child or grandchild, or your mom or dad? Everyone has their demons. God loves everyone the same. It is not up to you to decide who deserves to be saved.