Anti-overdose drug helping first responders fight Portland's her - KPTV - FOX 12

Anti-overdose drug helping first responders fight Portland's heroin epidemic

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This year alone, paramedics with Portland Fire & Rescue have used Narcan close to 200 times to reverse the effects of an overdose, according to Lieutenant Laurent Picard. (KPTV) This year alone, paramedics with Portland Fire & Rescue have used Narcan close to 200 times to reverse the effects of an overdose, according to Lieutenant Laurent Picard. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

First responders and health workers fighting Portland's heroin epidemic are finding some success using a drug that can reverse an overdose.

Erin Browne, who works in the Multnomah County Health Department's needle exchange program, trains heroin users to save each others lives, by injecting overdose victims with Narcan.

"What we want to do is keep them alive until they are ready to get into treatment, and we can help them get into treatment," said Browne.

According to the health department, since Narcan, also known as Naloxone, has been distributed to users in the Portland area, there have been 1,000 reported overdose reversals, to go along with a 30 percent reduction in death rates related to opioid overdose.

As of September, more people have been able to get access to Narcan, which can now be prescribed by a pharmacist.

"I think it's a great idea. I think any way we can expand Naloxone access is fantastic," said Browne.

This year alone, paramedics with Portland Fire & Rescue have used Narcan close to 200 times to reverse the effects of an overdose, according to Lieutenant Laurent Picard.

"Narcan is absolutely crucial to us," said Picard.

Narcan comes with a cost, which is close to $85 per dose, but the county's program is funded in part by a grant from the federal government, and the drug's manufacturer gives the health department a discount on the price, said Brown.

Brown said nearly 3,000 needle exchange clients have been trained to use Narcan since 2013.

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