Narcan: Life-saver or enabler?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) —On busy days, Metro EMS can respond to upwards of 450 calls.
The sad reality is that more and more of those calls involve overdoses—the vast majority being heroin and other opiate overdoses.
From 2015 to 2016, overall overdose runs were up almost 50 percent –6,879 of them in 2016, and that was just in Louisville.
Many of those runs would have been too late if not for Naloxone, most commonly referred to by the brand name Narcan. The drug reverses the effects of opiates which can cause users to go into cardiac arrest.
Narcan is a lifesaver, no doubt, proven over and over again, but it’s helped bring back the same addicts from the brink of death over and over again.
“I know there's one patient that we've made, the tally was over 20 times in the course of a year, I believe,” Major Chris Lokits of Metro EMS said.
Addicts being repeat patients are part of the reason why Metro EMS more than doubled its supply of Narcan from 2015 to 2016—3,435 doses to 8,470 doses.
Narcan: EMS help many people over and over
For 2016, that accounted for $318,334.25 of city money, and therefore your money. For fiscal year 2017, the Emergency Services “Medical” Budget is $25,893,900.
The fact that emergency calls for heroin overdoses are way up and therefore so are doses of Narcan, there is public criticism that Narcan enables the same addicts to get high again and again.
Major Lokits doesn’t think of it that way at all. He sees Narcan as a second chance, even a third, fourth and fifth chance.
“Every time we go out and make one of these calls, we're giving somebody another opportunity,” Lokits said. “To change their life and turn it around.”
If you or a loved one is battling an addiction, here are some links to resources to get help: