Feedback: Should Deputies Carry Narcan?

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Last year, Jefferson County EMS responded to more than 220 drug overdoses. 

Twelve people died from overdosing.  

But often, it isn't EMS that gets to a victim first.

It's sheriff's deputies and right now, a deputy can't do much to help the victim.

"I give basic first aid as much as I can to help an individual until EMS does arrive," said Undersheriff Paul Trudeau

That's why county Legislator Anthony Doldo is suggesting that deputies be allowed to use a drug called Narcan. 

It stops the effects of opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers and allows an individual to breathe again.
 
"It's a matter of either them trying to help somebody that's possibly overdosing or just sitting there helpless," said Doldo.

According to emergency personnel, Narcan is extremely easy to administer.

All you do is put a tube of the drug in the nose of an unconscious victim and push.

But, deputies have little medical training, which raises a number of questions.

What about side-effects?

What if the person didn't actually overdose on an opioid?

Can Narcan be harmful?

Anita Seefried-Brown from the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council says no.

"If a person is overdosing from let's say cocaine or is overdosing from medication other than opiate-based medication, then no harm will be done to the body" she said.

On the financial side, the drug is effectively free. 

The county would be supplied with free Narcan kits for two years and after that, it costs about $10 a box.

The sheriff's department supports the change and Doldo expects Narcan to be on a deputy's belt within the next two months. 

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Sunday, November 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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