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WKYT Reality Check: Doctors want to make overdose antidote street legal

By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email
By: Elizabeth Dorsett Email

MGN Online

MGN Online

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)- The numbers are alarming, Lexington leaders say they're overwhelmed.
So far this year, there have been 39 overdose deaths in Lexington, 27 of which are blamed on heroin.
On Friday, Lexington Police will hold a news conference to discuss how they plan to fight the resurgence of the drug.
Now, an emergency room doctor says a heroin antidote ought to be readily available on he streets.
Dr. Ryan Stanton says in the last year, Kentucky has spent 70-million dollars treating overdoses---10 million in the ER alone.
"Starting in the last year, we've seen the numbers really jump up," Stanton said.
Stanton, Director of Lexington Fire and EMS and an emergency room doctor himself, says those monetary statistics are almost as staggering as facing the loss of life. B
Between 2007 and 2011, one to five deaths in Lexington were blamed on heroin overdoses. Last year, there were 22. This year, the city has already hit 27.
Stanton says the drug used in the ER, with a cost between 2 and 20 bucks, is the anecdote to solve the medical and financial problem.
"It completely blocks the opiates effect on the brain and body."
The drug, Naxolone, Better known as "Narcan" can be given by needle or by an atomized spray inhaler through the nose. It essentially keeps the body from processing the drug.
"One dose of Narcan will get them through the high. We've had cases in which people have come to the ER and been almost at death's door. Give them Narcan and within a few hours, they'll be ready to go home," Stanton said.
Narcan can reverse the effects of all opiates, including prescription drugs like oxycontin and vocodin and Stanton says it is impossible to overdose on the rescue drug.
But, he says it is a race against time, in order to reverse the effects of an overdose, saying folks have between 2 and four minutes before they die.
"Some areas of the country already have it on the streets as a prescription like an epi-pen for beestings."
Stanton cites New Mexico, New York and Chicago as places that have made the drug available. While legislation is moving in that direction here, The ethical debate rages on. Just like an overdose situation, Stanton says time is of the essence.
"The idea of getting it onto the street isn't to encourage it. It's to get a known cure; a known remedy onto the street."


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