ELYRIA, Ohio– Police and fire in Elyria are taking part in a new pilot program run by the state.
As participants, they’ll be allowed to administer ‘Narcan,’ a drug used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.
“It’s a very small kit. It has two vials in it. If they come into an area where someone is unconscious they would take the kit out, put a little spray adaptor on the syringe and spray it into their nose,” said Lorain County Coroner Dr. Steven Evans.
He said Lorain County was picked exclusively for the pilot program because of its alarming increase in heroin-related deaths over recent years.
“If you go back a year or two, most of our overdoses were from the narcotic pain pills; now most of them are from heroin,” he said.
Elyria’s Assistant Public Safety Director, Bruce Shade, believes the program will be successful.
“We expect that what’s going to happen is that the police officers and firefighters will arrive on the scene, and in countless situations provide the medication and have a life-saving effect,” he said.
Everyone who is allowed to administer the drug will first be formally trained.
“This allows those people, firefighters, who are not doing the EMS to be able to administer it; so we’re talking about really the full spectrum of public safety forces will be able to do this,” said Shade.
The drug, even if used accidentally, cannot cause serious harm to a person. In fact, according to Dr. Evans, there are no real side effects.
He adds while the program aims to help battle the heroin epidemic, it won’t solve it completely.
“This is just to save their life. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s much more that needs to be done after that,” he said.