Nasal spray reverses the effects of opiate overdoses

Medford, Ore. — Opiate overdoses in Medford are up more than 30% this year alone, according to the Medford Police Department. But now, MPD has a new tool to help keep people who overdose alive.

The drug is called Naloxone and it’s used by paramedics to reverse the effects of opiates when someone overdoses. Now, Medford Police are going to be the first officers in the state to carry the drug.

“It will take a person from almost being dead to sitting up and talking to us,” Lt. Mike Budreau said.

Naloxone is carried by paramedics in syringe form. Now, it’s also being sold in nasal spray form, which is why Budreau said MPD took interest.

Budreau said the drug reverses the effects of opiates almost instantly by blocking receptors in the brain. Officers have already responded to 50 overdoses this year. Budreau said in those situations every minute is critical. If they get there before paramedics they’ll be able to administer Naloxone themselves.

Jackson County’s Public Health Director Jim Shames said the more people who carry naloxone the better.

“The success rate is remarkable,” he said.

Shames said in 2013 eight people in Jackson County died of heroin overdoses. In 2011 there was just one death.

“The drug has virtually no side effects, it’s not habit forming, it’s not dangerous and won’t have effects for people who aren’t overdosing,” Shames said.

Lt. Budreau said it takes just two milliliters, one in each nostril. A tiny amount, but it’s enough to give someone a second chance at life.

He also said they hope to have a spray kit in each of their 32 patrol cars within the next month.

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