Before retiring, as a 28 year firefighter/paramedic, I administered NARCAN® (the brand name for Naloxone Hydrochloride) to more than 3,000 people throughout South Florida who were exhibiting drug overdose-like symptoms. Since 2012, I have responded to more than 7,000 property damage restoration scenes. Listening to fire rescue scanners as part of this job has provided opportunities to administer NARCAN® spray to 13 strangers, thereby saving 12 lives. I have done so in parking lots and restrooms of public locations. Anyone with a first aid/CPR card can do so.
With the blessing of my franchise owner, I’ve embarked on a mission to donate sprays across America thanks to GoFundMe donors. In 20 months, I have conducted 102 two-hour classes in five states, giving 2,700 course attendees this highly effective tool which has saved 114 lives. It is my intention to go anywhere in need of this resource.
What is Naloxone Hydrochloride?
Naloxone Hydrochloride spray is an impressive antidote to drug overdoses. It is available in all 50 states without a specific prescription for use by even a novice. CVS and Walgreens have committed to making this medication readily available for purchase by untrained individuals. While originally used by medical professionals worldwide starting in 1961, naloxone hydrochloride has since become more user friendly with the availability of the auto injector in 2014 and the subsequent introduction of the nasal spray in late 2016. This spray is a high dosage of 4 milligrams which is intended for use in even the most critical overdose involving fentanyl. Every U.S. state now has blanket immunity for people administering it.
A Risk-Free Solution
On my days off as a firefighter/paramedic, I was a 26 year American Heart Association Regional Faculty person in resuscitation. I routinely taught doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and EMS personnel how to handle a Code Blue /critical/cardiac arrest scenario. NARCAN® was always covered in this class. Of the more than 40 emergency drugs carried in a hospital crash cart or fire rescue paramedic box, NARCAN® is by far the most powerful and least harmful. It is truly miraculous!
Why? NARCAN® does not cause allergies. Giving it to somebody who did not need it will have no effect nor hurt the person. The nasal spray is one size fits all (from a one day old baby to a 90-year-old weighing 200 pounds). Nobody can become addicted to it or build up a resistance to it no matter how many different times it is given. Administer the right dosage (4mg) to a critically ill person in the right time (within 8 minutes of collapse) and a 91% success rate has been demonstrated with one single spray. Even a 10 year old child can give it with competency and achieve desired results.
Why construction and restoration?
A google search of “opioid crisis, construction worksites” reveals that this is one of the labor fields most impacted by the crisis. The U.S. Department of Labor has found workplace injuries often are the pathway to legally obtained opioids for injuries.
A 2018 NIOSH workplace study highly recommended NARCAN® placement in any industry involving skilled or unskilled labor alongside first aid kits and work related personal protective equipment.
Irrespective of moral viewpoints on persons battling SUD (Substance Use Disorder), the financial impact of opioids is becoming clear: decreased workplace productivity, increased healthcare costs, and employees use of sick time. Both the employee as well as the employer are losing out and are at risk on many levels.
By stocking NARCAN®, the restoration industry can be a leader in safeguarding the workplace and protecting its most valuable assets, our people!