Ill. First Responders Increase Narcan Use as Heroin Overdoses Continue Rising

Ill. First Responders Increase Narcan Use as Heroin Overdoses Continue Rising

News Jul 07, 2017

July 07—PEORIA—Over the holiday weekend, two people died in Peoria County of suspected heroin overdoses, but that number could have been a lot higher if area first responders had not been able to use Narcan at the scene.

Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, can counteract the effects of heroin and literally bring a person out of an overdose situation. From June 30 to July 4, there were 18 suspected heroin overdoses, according numbers provided by the Peoria Fire Department. Their firefighters distributed eight doses of Narcan over that five-day period. And that doesn't include the doses given by paramedics with Advanced Medical Transport or the officers from the Peoria Police Department.

"Being in the EMS (emergency medical services) field, there's never an average week, but eight times in five days is substantial," said Roland Tenley, the department's EMS/quality assurance officer.

To put those numbers into perspective, the Fire Department treated nine in May with Narcan and 15 in June.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said his office has three suspected deaths spanning a 10-day period that included the holiday weekend. There could have been more without the increased use of Narcan by first responders.

"Three cases in the past week, two over the weekend? I can't confirm, but the evidence suggests that they are from a heroin overdose," the coroner said. "Peoria County is a small one with only 180,000 people. Three deaths in 10 days, I think, is a lot."

Andrew Rand, AMT's chief executive officer, notes that in June, his paramedics used 70 doses, which was a "statistically significant uptick" in the usage of Narcan. But he also cautions against the "hype" regarding the drug, saying that first responders have to assess the situation in the field. With the increasing impurity of heroin—the drug is often cut or mixed with other things such as morphine or Valium—it's often unclear what is truly a heroin overdose. Just administering the drug isn't appropriate, he said.

Tenley agreed.

"Anytime you have a patient who isn't breathing, it's important to get them ventilated," he said. "Narcan is secondary to that. People aren't going to die from the opioids but rather from the respiratory suppression."

Journal Star, Peoria, Ill.

Continue Reading
Source
McClatchy
Andy Kravetz
After a forest fire broke out, students, residents and nursing home residents were evacuated and treated for light smoke inhalation before police started allowing people to return to their buildings.
AAA’s Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.
Forthcoming events across the country will provide a forum for questions and ideas
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has released its 2016 Annual Report summarizing HCOHSEM’s challenges, operations and key accomplishments during the past year.
Patients living in rural areas can wait up to 30 minutes on average for EMS to arrive, whereas suburban or urban residents will wait up to an average of seven minutes.
Tony Spadaro immediately started performing CPR on his wife, Donna, when she went into cardiac arrest, contributing to her survival coupled with the quick response of the local EMS team, who administered an AED shock to restore her heartbeat.
Sunstar Paramedics’ clinical services department and employee Stephen Glatstein received statewide awards.
A Good Samaritan, Jeremy English, flagged down a passing police officer asking him for Narcan after realizing the passengers in the parked car he stopped to help were overdosing on synthetic cannabinoids.
Family and fellow firefighters and paramedics mourn the loss of Todd Middendorf, 46, called "one of the cornerstones" of the department.
The levy is projected to raise about $525,000 per year, and that money must be spent only on the Othello Hospital District ambulance service.
The IMRUA is hosting its biannual Congress in Poland Sept. 22–24.
In a conference about the opioid crisis, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (and a former addict) pleads with the public to treat addiction as a disease, not a moral failure, and offer effective treatment accordingly.
The simulations involved having the medics crawl into tight spaces and practice intubation on patients who are difficult to reach.
The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services is accepting grant applications from agencies to provide funding for receiving accreditation.
The Center for Patient Safety has announced its "EMS Patient Safety Boot Camp,"