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El Paso County sheriff's deputies save overdose victim with Narcan

August 11, 2017 Updated: August 11, 2017 at 6:14 pm
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Anti-overdose drug naloxone, also known as Narcan

El Paso County sheriff's deputies saved a man's life using Narcan, an emergency treatment for opioid overdoses, for the first time last week, the Sheriff's Office announced Friday.

A woman called the Sheriff's Office shortly before 11 p.m. Aug. 3, saying her boyfriend had left home and was suicidal. Her boyfriend told her he had taken 100 Vicodin pills.

She helped deputies get GPS coordinates for her boyfriend, who was near Old Pueblo and Birdsall roads. Deputies found him inside his vehicle at 12:36 a.m. Aug. 4.

He was breathing but unresponsive. "His breathing became very shallow and began to pause for an extended period of time between breaths," the Sheriff's Office said.

His breathing began to improve after Narcan was administered, and he was taken to a hospital for further treatment.

"The importance of providing first responders with effective tools like Narcan, can never be understated," El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said in a written statement. "A life was saved, and without Narcan this would not have been possible."

Narcan, the brand name for naxolene, is widely used but occasionally has proved to be controversial.

Vince Wilczek, the police chief in Rangely, said in January during a town council meeting that his officers wouldn't be providing the antidote to those who overdose on drugs, the The Rio Blanco Herald Times reported.

According to The Herald Times, Wilczek said it's "like giving a drunk a drive home, they're going to get drunk every night. Actions have recourses. If there's no recourse for your action, you're going to keep doing it. We shouldn't incur any cost because of drug addicts."

Drug overdose is the leading cause of unintentional death in Colorado, ahead of motor vehicle deaths, and in 2013, a law was passed to provide immunity to non-medial professionals who administer the drug.

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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