Updated: 12/10/2013 7:22 PM
Created: 12/10/2013 11:00 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
Heroin overdoses have been on the rise in the Twin Cities metro. In Anoka County, 21 people have died so far this year, which is three times as many as two years ago, and in Hennepin County, 48 people have died so far this year.
Now, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office wants to add a new tool to help them fight overdoses. On Tuesday, they are pushing for new laws to get access to a drug known as Narcan.
Narcan is a brand name of the drug called Naloxone, which is known as the “Heroin Overdose Antidote” because it reverses the effects of opiates. During a heroin overdose, opioids block too many receptors in the brain, which makes the person stop breathing. When the Naloxone goes in, it takes the place of the opioids so the person can breathe normally.
The sheriff’s office believes Narcan can save lives in heroin overdoses. They want to be able to use a nasal version of the drug when people overdose, but current Minnesota law says you have to be a medical professional to use it. Plus, it requires a prescription.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Narcan has reversed more than 10,000 overdoses since 1996.
Some worry that it could be a safety net for drug users.