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Committee Debates Bill that Allows Officers to Carry Heroin Antidote

Created: 03/10/2014 8:43 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson

Minnesota lawmakers are hoping to put a potentially life-saving drug in the hands of law enforcement officers.

On Monday, the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Committee will consider a bill to allow officers to carry 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.

Narcan is currently only available through a prescription and must be administered by a health care professional. According to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, 16 states currently equip law enforcement with Narcan, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is helping to push the availability of Narcan after the county saw a record number of 56 overdoses.

According to a report last year by the Minnesota Department of Health last year, the metro has the highest purity heroin in the United States at 93.5 percent. Because of its potency and price, the number of heroin cases surpasses methamphetamine and cocaine cases combined.

Those opposing the legislation worry that Narcan could be a safety net for drug users.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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