Drug administered by Fond du Lac Fire Department battles heroin overdose

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by Chris Patterson

FOND DU LAC -- Heroin has gained a foothold in many Milwaukee area suburbs and small towns around Wisconsin. Firefighters in Fond du Lac are working to keep the drug from taking lives by carrying a drug called Narcan that helps combat heroin overdoses.

The Fond du Lac Fire Department reports they used the drug 79 times in 2013, the most they've ever used the drug since they got it 20 years ago. They say the drug saved 13 people who would have died of an overdose last year.

Fond du Lac Fire Department Assistant Chief Todd Janquart says, "We use it for two reasons, one where there's a known overdose of a narcotic and two where a patient is unresponsive and we don't know what caused the decreased level of consciousness."

Narcan acts as a counter balance to drugs in an individual's system. The drug competes with narcotics and it attaches to the cell the narcotics are in. The drug slowly reverses the overdose.

A state law was just passed relaxing narcan laws allowing basic EMT's to administer the drug. There can be adverse effects if narcan is administered incorrectly, which is why some never want to see the drug be offered over the counter.

 

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