Deputies save two using Narcan kits
STEVENSVILLE — Having the opiate antidote Narcan readily available recently allowed the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office to assist emergency medical services and save two lives in the space of a week.
On May 13, Sheriff Gary Hofmann responded to a report of a possible overdose in the Kmart parking lot on Kent Island at 6:34 p.m. He found a man in the driver’s seat of a vehicle, unresponsive and not breathing.
Hofmann had a dose of Narcan with him, which was administered by emergency medical personnel. The man was revived and taken to the Queen Anne’s Emergency Center for treatment.
Just a week later, on May 20, Detectives Chase Armington and Jason Rickard were in Baltimore retrieving stolen property from pawn shops when they were flagged down about 11:40 a.m. by a pedestrian to help an unconscious woman laying on the sidewalk at Monroe Street and Wilkens Avenue. Her breathing was impaired and she seemed to be suffering from an overdose, police said.
They administered Narcan. Baltimore Fire Department arrived, and one of detectives provided rescue breaths with a bag valve mask from BFD while the other secured the scene.
Fire department personnel begin intravenous treatment, and the woman soon regained consciousness. The woman told them she had used heroin, police said.
Patient care was transferred to BFD, which replaced the Narcan dose, and detectives left.
When a person takes heroin there is an immediate depression of the respiratory system, according to Dr. Joseph A. Ciotola, emergency ser vices medical director and the county health officer. It can lead to respiratory arrest and, ultimately, cardiac arrest.
Opiates, like heroin, kill by slowing brain activity to the point of stopping a person’s breathing, but Narcan can counteract an overdose if it’s given early enough, Ciotola said.
Local deputies have been trained in the administration of Narcan and carrying it since May 2014.
On Oct. 1, 2015, a new Maryland law went into effect that allows licensed drug prescribers to write prescriptions for Narcan for anyone who may be in a position to help someone at risk of an opioid overdose.
It costs between $20-$40 dollars for a full Narcan kit, which includes everything a person would need to reverse an overdose, according to overdosepreventionalliance.org.
A close up of a Narcan kit.