Alstar Administers Narcan More Than 30 Times In 2015
Alstar EMS, the leading provider of prehospital care in southwestern New York, has administered the life-saving opioid antidote Narcan a total of 35 times this year across the county.
Of those, 15 occurred in April alone, with eight victims revived in the South county and seven in the North. Narcan was administered by Alstar EMS only five times in March.
Ron Hasson, EMS resources manager at Alstar EMS, said it is unclear what led to the sudden increase in numbers.
“(In March) we saw a drop (to five), so we wondered if police agencies and other nonparamedic (responders) were giving Narcan before we got there,” Hasson said. “April seemed to be a worse month for some reason, and we’re not sure why.”
Hasson said Narcan, which has been used by Alstar EMS for years, is typically administered seven to eight times a month. Since the drug can now be administered through the nose as opposed to intravenously, it is easier and safer to use, he said.
“When we give Narcan intranasally, we’re relying on the medication being absorbed by the blood vessels in the nose … so that takes longer … maybe four to five minutes before taking effect,” Hasson said.
Narcan administered intravenously – which is only conducted by paramedics – can take effect within a minute if the victim’s heart is still beating.
Hasson added that Narcan remains an effective tool to stall overdoses and potentially save lives. Criteria for using Narcan, he said, includes the victim breathing less than 10 times a minute, being unresponsive and having pinpoint pupils, blue lips and blue fingertips.
According to New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, state and local law enforcement officers equipped with Narcan have saved more than 100 lives in less than a year.
The general public has also had the opportunity to receive Narcan training through Chautauqua Tapestry’s Strength of Support group.