By Cherri Gregg
MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — Camden County police began administering the lifesaving drug Narcan (generically “naloxone”) in May and have saved dozens of heroin overdose victims this summer.
Meanwhile, officials in Pennsylvania are hoping that state’s law will change soon so police here can also save lives.
Thirty-three. That’s the number of lives Camden police say they have saved from overdose since mid-May. Earlier in the year, 19 people had died from overdose in Camden. Since officers began using Narcan, only three people have died.
“In versy short order, we were able to get it, get our officers trained, and have an immediate impact,” notes Camden County police captain Greg Carlin.
But in Pennsylvania, overdose deaths continue. Delaware County DA Jack Whelan calls it an epidemic.
“Over the last couple of years we’re in excess of 120 deaths (per year),” he notes. “This year we’re on track with those type of statistics.”
Pennsylvania state law says only paramedics are allowed to administer Narcan, even though police are usually first on the scene.
New legislation has stalled inHarrisburg, but Whelan is hoping lawmakers pass it this fall.
“The sooner we change it, the more lives we’re going to be able to save,” he said today.
As for cost of the drug, one dose runs around $20.