Guests speakers Chas Carlson and Ian Stoddart, from the Narberth Ambulance and Eric Miller from the Narberth Police Department, came to our class last week to discuss their individualized roles in emergency response to opioid overdoses.
With over 20 years of experience under his belt, Miller has become of adept at recognizing patterns and assessing situations. Miller, along with Stoddart and Carlson, claims to have recognized the opioid epidemic over 5 years ago far before it received any sort of national attention. Though nothing was being done to target opioid addiction back then, there has been a clear problem for quite a while.
Miller recalls a young man he lost to a drug overdose many years ago who could have been saved if nacan had been available to him.
“We would have saved him now. It bothers me to this day that we couldn’t,” he remarks regretfully.
Though narcan (in its nasal spray form) is now readily available to all emergency response personnel and currently, there are no proven negative side effects of narcan, there are still consequences regarding its administration. After an overdose victim has been given narcan and begins breathing again they are forced into a state of withdrawal. In this state most victims will become angered at the emergency responders for “ruining their high” and do not realize they have just experienced an overdose. Furthermore, after the victim is revived the responders loose leverage in the situation. They cannot arrest the victim nor can they force them to get help if the victim chooses not to, leaving the victim to continue their drug abuse habit. This is an issue that all three guest speakers have dealt with in the past and still continues to be a problem to this day. An adequate solution has yet to be found.