Narcan nasal spray will address epidemic, save lives of overdose victims
ETHAN COSTELLO | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the coordination of making Narcan nasal spray more widely accessible and affordable across several UW campuses in a press release last December. This is possible through a partnership between the UW System and Adapt Pharma, Inc., a drug manufacturer. The nasal spray is part of ongoing measure to counteract the opioid crisis raging in Wisconsin.
What is Narcan?
Narcan is the brand name for the drug naloxone. When someone overdoses on an opioid like heroin or prescription drugs, the respiratory system is depressed, causing the victim to stop breathing. The naloxone is injected in through the nose, which jump-starts respiration.
The beneficiary campuses include UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout and UW-Superior.
The Narcan 4mg doses have been distributed to campus security and police as they are most likely to be the first contacted when an overdose is called in. Every officer is to carry the spray.
“This will be a critical resource for our campus communities, and we are very appreciative of the partnership with the Department of Justice to receive NARCAN® from Adapt Pharma. The UW System has been actively working with recovery stakeholders in Wisconsin to demonstrate our shared commitment in the fight against opioid use, and this is an important tool for our officers,” said UW System President Ray Cross in the press release.
The press release boasted that the system-wide partnership is the first of its kind in the nation.
UW-Parkside’s access to Narcan
While UW-Parkside is not included in this deal, UW-Parkside has access to Narcan through another program organized through Kenosha County. The Narcan Distribution Initiative is a program designed to train officers and medical practitioners in the use of the spray.
The program is funded through a 5-year grant which totals approx. $1.1 million, distributing $225,000 per year.
Chief James Heller of UW-Parkside Police Department (UWPPD) stated in a email that representatives of the Kenosha County Health Department visited to train campus officers in its use.
“The health and safety of our students, staff and visitors is our top priority,” Chief Heller said.
“Thankfully, we have not had occasion to use the Narcan,” Chief Heller explained, adding that students, staff and faculty should rest assured that UWPPD is staffed around that clock for your safety and is prepared to answer any call.
Opioids Crisis Conference
On Jan. 31, a conference titled “Opioids: Killing More Than Pain” was held on campus discussing the epidemic. The Family Service of Racine, a nonprofit clinic, organized the event.
The Keynote speaker was Tim Ryan who shared his experience as a recovered opioid addict.
While UW-Parkside has had no recent instances of opioid overdoses, the county has seen an astounding increase in overdose cases and toxicity deaths in the past few years.