Oxford first responders administered Narcan in 36 incidents last year and five so far in 2019.
Each of those cases could have been fatal without the drug, which counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose.
Opioids are compounds that resemble opium in addictive properties or physiological effects. These drugs include codeine, morphine, Oxycodone and Fentanyl. Opioid abuse can lead to overdose, which can be fatal. Naloxone, often branded as Narcan, replaces the opioid drug in a person’s receptors and reverses its effects.
Many EMS responders and police officers carry Narcan, which can be administered intravenously or as a nasal spray.
In 48 states, including Ohio it is now possible to buy Narcan at a pharmacy without prescription.
“Due to personal Narcan, we don’t know how many overdoses there are exactly, because numbers can be skewed,” said Oxford Police Lt. Lara Fening. “A lot of times we get a report and they’re gone by time we get there.”
“The city of Oxford has experienced an increase in opioid related calls each year over the last few years,” said Fire Captain Jay Fields. “According to my records, the city of Oxford used Narcan on 36 incidents in 2018 and in some of these incidents required multiple doses of Narcan. So far this year Narcan has been used on five incidents in the city of Oxford.” Without the Narcan, those overdoses might have been fatalities.
“I believe it is a good idea for people to have Narcan in their home for an emergency if themselves or their family or friends have the potential to be exposed to opioids,” Fields said. That exposure could come from opioid drug use, opioid prescription medication use, and people who work in professions where they interact with individuals who use opioids, he said.