Chaz Carlson started this week’s talk giving us his bio. He is a paramedic, so he has seen his fair share of overdoses. The next speaker was Joe who is also a paramedic with a background in nursing. His background in first responding and nursing and ems is extensive. Eric Miller is a police officer working for 23 years but has a masters degree in education. I like that he stated a lot of education goes into addiction. He explained that the police go with the paramedics to all overdose calls to see if there is any criminal behavior along with the call. Lastly, was Craig Hall who is also a paramedic for almost 20 years. He is a tactile paramedic where he helps the police force with support and how to train canines as well for drug overdoses.
Having four speakers was a bit intimidating at first but from the beginning, we got a lot of information. For example opiate refers to the natural drug such as heroin and opioid refers to synthetic drugs such as Oxycodone. Chaz then went into what happens when your body is going through an overdose. All opiate deaths start with respiratory failure, then your body tries to compensate, your heart starts beating to get more blood flowing. However, your losing oxygen to the brain. Also, if Narcan is administered to an overdose patient, oxygen and ventilation need to also be administered to the patient.
Next, they talked about how scary Fentanyl is. Craig Hall spoke about how he had three co-workers overdose during a search because the drug is absorbed through the skin. Also, one of his co-workers lost his drug dog because the dog inhaled it within a search. It is a scary scary drug. Chaz showed us Narcan. What it looks like, how it can be administered and how it reverses an overdose.
The supply and demand have caused the price of Narcan to skyrocket. What started as $10 at one point is now up to around $120. Narcan has a shorter half-life than the opiate, the Narcan forces the opiate out of the person’s system. However, I found it ironic that Chaz and Craig stated that many people don’t go for help afterward. As a matter of fact, they get mad because the Narcan has ruined their high. The problem they are also seeing is drug users look at Narcan as a miracle drug that saves them. So, they believe they can do as much as they want because Narcan is there. But, it doesn’t always work. So, anyone using opiates are putting themselves at a very high risk. They are also putting paramedics at risk because they keep Narcan on them for themselves just Incase they come in contact with fentanyl and they feel they have been exposed to it.
Heroin has stamps on it as well. All of the speakers talked about how their area all have their own brand. One was called “ get high or die trying.” This astounded me because people were dying from this batch. A good point brought up was, does releasing the name of the heroin, make people seek it out? Honestly, people with an addiction will seek out any drug they can find if they are looking. Also, it is very sad that most of the heroin is coming from the town of Kensington, which is very close.
Eric Miller also spoke about the Good Samaritan law where if someone overdoses, the person who calls the cops and ambulance will not be prosecuted, even if they are also on drugs. I believe this is a good law to an extent. Because as he mentioned, what if the person calling is known as a big drug dealer, are the cops supposed to just let him walk. So, there is a fine line that needs to be walked when discussing this law.
The guest speakers today were great and very informative. They educated us on very specific things and I thoroughly enjoyed their presentation