New law expands access to Narcan - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New law expands access to Narcan

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You no longer have to be a paramedic to administer Narcan, the medicine used to save drug users from an overdose.

"In the field, what we see is pretty dramatic recovery. People that are near death come back in thirty seconds to a minute," said Wayne Dow, Dubuque EMS supervisor.

Iowa lawmakers signed a bill into law expanding access to the antidote.

So, what does this now mean? Well, family members of those who are users can now get a prescription for Narcan and obtain it from the pharmacy. The law also includes caregivers and first responders, such as police officers.

Paramedics who have given Narcan out in the field say it's easy to administer. "Some areas of the country that have been doing this now, making it available for the public are teaching it to school children...8-years old," Dow said.

It's something needed in Dubuque, especially after an uptick in overdoses.

So far this year, the police department says there have been 18 heroin overdoses, 7 of them led to death. 

But now that Narcan will be available to the public with a prescription, emergency personnel say it's an all around benefit. "It's gonna be that much of a quicker reaction, because we're still gonna're still gonna gave to call 911, the dispatch time and our response so people will see the drug quicker," Dow added.

Once the Narcan is given to a drug abuser by a family member, emergency responders still recommend calling 911.

As for the cost -- an area pharmacy tells KWWL it costs about $1,000, but is covered by most insurance companies.

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