Drug-overdose stats would be a lot worse without naloxone

The statistics on drug-overdose deaths in Kentucky are bad, but they could be a lot worse if first responders didn’t save so many drug users with naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of opioids, they told Editor-Publisher Ben Carlson of The Anderson News.

Carlson reports, “Bart Powell, the county’s director of public safety, said were it not for Narcan, a drug used to revive those who have overdosed, the number of deaths here would have been considerably higher.” Narcan is the brand name of the device usually used to deliver naloxone.

“There were two just yesterday,” Powell told Carlson July 30. “There are 10 or more we are bringing back each month. There’s no scientific way to tell, but from the street perspective, there would have been a lot more deaths.”

Powell said ambulances have long carried naloxone, “but the recent decision to provide the life-saving drug to police and firefighters has been key to preventing deaths, particularly in rural communities such as Anderson,” Carlson reports.

“The police often get there first because they’re already out,” Powell  said. “Their response times, especially in the city, are usually quicker. They’ve saved a lot of lives.”

Carlson’s story, across the top of his front page, was mainly about Anderson County ranking 11th out of 120 counties in drug overdoses in 2017, according to a report from the state Office of Drug Control Policy.