Paramedic Ian Stoddart and EMT Chas Carlson, both of Narberth Ambulance, visited Solutions Journalism: Covering Addiction today with Marple Township Police officer Eric Miller to discuss emergency services related to drug and alcohol overdoses. All three have been trained to use and have administered naloxone, more commonly known by its brand name Narcan, to reverse opioid overdoses.


Learning About the Vital Role of First Responders and Narcan

by Jim McCormick

The simplest sayings can sometimes canvass the most complex concepts. For example, Police Officer Eric Miller of the Marple Township Police Department succinctly captured the troubling dichotomy of addiction in American, “Every knows someone with an addiction, but no one’s talking about it.”

Miller was an effective and affable in that he helped humanize the perspective of police in emergency situations regarding addiction. The modern officer is often on the front lines of the overdose epidemic, so it was compelling to hear from Miller’s experiences in educational advocacy and being on the scene amid overdose scenarios. Miller is an example of an officer fostering realistic dialogue about the culture of addiction and recovery.

With an eye on teaching our class about the realities of first responders, Miller was joined by Ian Stoddart, a paramedic for 30 years in the Narberth area, and Chas Carlson, an EMT in Montgomery County for the past six years. Stoddart’s perspective over a long career in the field was enlightening given his familiarity with Narcan (naloxone) and how politics and logistics have influenced the availability and education surrounding the drug. I’m sure there are strong content angles for our project to consider with regards to Narcan.

We hear so much about the macro view of addiction; big data and the social justice paradigm, thus it proved impressive to learn about the immediate, on-scene experiences of overdose.