Training Teaches Hennepin Co. Deputies How to Use 'Heroin Antidote'

Updated: 07/17/2014 6:30 PM
Created: 07/17/2014 8:02 AM
By: Tom Durian

Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies will soon be able to administer life-saving drugs to people suffering from drug overdoses.

In 2013, a record-setting 56 people died as a result of heroin overdoses. This year's numbers are on course to be high as well.

"Steve's Law," as it's known, was signed Wednesday by Gov. Mark Dayton. It allows for first responders across the state to carry an anti-overdose drug called Narcan.

The namesake of the legislation Steve Rummler, died after a heroin overdose in 2011. His father, Bill, says Steve had been suffering from back pain since 1996 and was often prescribed painkillers. It was when those painkillers ran out that Bill says Steve turned to heroin.

"One night there was a guy that brought some heroin to the house, and he took it," Rummler said.

According to Hennepin County Emergency Medical Services educator Tony Brandt, Heroin or opiate overdoses cause respiratory failure, and Narcan stops the uptake of these drugs to the brain.

The program is only in Hennepin County right now. Once trained, at least 24 deputies will carry Narcan with dozens more to be trained in the weeks to come. The total cost, according to the sheriff's office, is expected to be around $12,000. It will be paid for with money from the seizure of items in narcotics busts.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said, "The assets that we seize from the bad guys, who are peddling this poison out on the streets of Hennepin County today, are going to pay for the antidote to save people."

A second part of the law allows for partial immunity for the people who call 911 in a drug overdose situation, rather than leaving a victim to die.

Photo: Courtesy of Hennepin County

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