FONT & AUDIO
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office deputies reverse effects of drug overdoses with Narcan spray
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Patrol deputies are saving lives and giving overdose victims a second chance with an easy-to-administer version of a drug that immediately halts the effects of dangerous opioids.
Patrol deputies now are carrying nasal-spray canisters of Narcan in their patrol vehicles. Narcan administers a dose of naloxone, a drug that quickly blocks the effects of opioids (including heroin and various prescription pain pills) on the brain. A person suffering breathing problems due to an overdose of opioids can be revived with a prompt dose of Narcan, preventing brain damage or death due to loss of oxygen.
Sheriff's Office Lt. Rob Wurpes, an EMT, has experienced the loss of a family member to overdose. "Deputies being able to administer this lifesaving medication it's powerful for victims and families," he said. "We hope it gives people a second chance to get treatment and get well."
Deputies and first responders trained in the use of the naloxone recently have saved lives in the field:
1. On July 21, deputies responded to the Johnson Creek Boulevard Fred Meyer on a report of an unresponsive man. He was located face down and would not respond to stimuli; his breathing was weak and labored. Deputies used an atomizer with 2 milligrams of Narcan and provided a half-dose in each nostril. The man awakened almost immediately and was transferred to medical first responders. "The effect was nearly instantaneous," recalled Deputy John Gibson, who administered the lifesaving dose. "About eight deputies are carrying it in the field right now."
2. Just after midnight Aug. 1, deputies responded to a report of an unresponsive man in a bathroom at a Pogy's Subs on McLoughlin Boulevard. He had overdose, was unresponsive and was not breathing. Deputies administered sternum and chest compressions, after which the man began to experience labored breathing. After responding fire personnel administered Narcan, he regained normal breathing and consciousness before being transported to a hospital.
The Sheriff's Office decided to adopt Narcan for field use about five months ago after discussions with the CCSO medical director and partner EMS agencies about the lifesaving difference this medical intervention can make. Field use of Narcan requires initial training for deputies by a physician.
To learn more about Narcan nasal spray, visit narcannasalspray.com.