Narcan: A Drug to Save People Who Overdosed - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Narcan: A Drug to Save People Who Overdosed

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Paramedics and Advance EMT's from around the Tri-Cities are using a drug called Narcan to help save the lives of people who have overdosed on other drugs. Paramedics and Advance EMT's from around the Tri-Cities are using a drug called Narcan to help save the lives of people who have overdosed on other drugs.

KENNEWICK, WA - Paramedics and Advance EMT's from around the Tri-Cities are using a drug called Narcan to help save the lives of people who have overdosed on other drugs.

Local firefighters are often called not only for fires but for medical emergencies, too. Unfortunately, sometimes that call is for a drug overdose. When a patient OD's on prescription opiates like Vicodin or something more sinister like heroin, that's where Narcan comes in.

"There are some patients that when we walk in the door, they are blue. They are not breathing. Those patients obviously need it as quickly as we can possibly give it and we have methods to do that such as the nasal atomizer which we can give the Narcan literally right up the nose," said Captain Eric Nilson with the Kennewick Fire Department.

Nilson is the EMS Captain. He said while opiates bind to the body's receptors, Narcan has a higher affinity and knocks the drugs off the cells which removes the effects. It can revive a person who isn't breathing. 

In 2013, the Kennewick Fire Department administered the drug 95 times, Pasco Fire had to do it 129 time and Richland did so 44 times. That's not necessarily the number of patients because some people need it administered more than once.

The drug can also be prescribed by a doctor in cases where there are concerned friends or family members. That way it's on hand in the event of an overdose.
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