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Narcan and the opioid epidemic

Credit: PureRadiancePhoto/ shutterstock.com

The opioid epidemic continues to devastate the Cleveland area. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office predicts a 25% increase in overdose deaths since last year.... going from 660 deaths in 2016 to what could be as high as 825 to 850 overdose deaths by the end of the year. To quote County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson ... "The problem is not getting better." 

The drug naloxone, more commonly known by its brand name Narcan, works in reviving to revive people who have overdosed. It's seen by many as a miracle drug. But Narcan doesn't send the number of overdoses down, nor has it cut into the opioid death spiral. People are still overdosing and still dying. Some first responders say that when a person is revived, sometimes after giving them multiple doses of naloxone, they can immediately experience withdrawal, and sometimes go directly in search of their next fix. 

The community of Springfield, in Southwest Ohio, has seen its own record numbers of overdoses over the past two years, and is trying a new method of treating overdoses, used in other parts of the country, called the "Warm Hand Off" program, which launched in September. It's a multi-pronged approach aimed at getting people to treatment services quicker, and takes into question how quickly first responders should revive a patient using the antidote. 



Project Dawn at MetroHealth-- 216-778-5677 

-Chief Nick Heimlich- Springfield Fire Rescue Division

- Dr. Joan Papp- MetroHealth, Project DAWN