August 2014, Issue 51 Partners uconnems.uchc.edu
Canton Ambulance is the first nonparamedic service in the state to carry Naloxone (Narcan), the drug capable of reversing heroin and other opiate overdoses. The program is made possible by a recent state health department decision to expand the scope of practice for EMTs and first responders to carry the drug due to the increasing heroin epidemic that has led to numerous fatalities across Connecticut, including deaths in Canton.
To carry the drug first responders must gain the approval of their local sponsor hospital. Canton Ambulance does a great job providing emergency care in their town. We at John Dempsey Hospital have full confidence in their ability to use this life-saving intervention.
Our UCONN Fire Department paramedics administered Narcan to 30 patients in the Farmington, Canton, Avon area, including 7 in Canton in the last two years. These calls have included heroin, percocet and oxycontin overdoses serious enough to depress patients’ breathing to life-threatening levels. In nearly every case, the first responders and basic EMTs were on scene before paramedics. Allowing responders who first arrive at the scene to administer the drug can save critical time in reversing the effects of heroin and other opiates that cause a patient to slow and often stop breathing.