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Iowa Allows First Responders to Carry Anti-Overdose Drug

April 11, 2016  | 

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed Senate File 2218 and 28 other bills into law Wednesday, allowing first responders to stock and administer drugs called opioid antagonists for use in life-threatening opioid overdoses, reports the Newton Daily News.

Newton Police Chief Rob Burdess said there are some lifesaving tools used by police, and it's always great to have access to another form of lifesaving help.

"This is another tool that will help first responders save someone's life," Burdess said. "Particularly in rural areas where paramedic level care is not an option."

Narcan became the first FDA-approved nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride when it was approved in November. Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Rex Heisdorffer, the training and EMS officer for the Newton Fire Department, said the idea of law enforcement supplying anything medicinal to a person -- especially in life-or-death situations -- is somewhat novel. Communication with the medical community will determine how effective Narcan will be in the field.

"There are quite a few other states already doing this, and there hasn't really been a great deal of concern expressed (about non-medically trained police administering the drug)," Heisdorffer said. "The conditions for this type of overdose would involve hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, so when a person is brought out of that, they can become combative, so all first responders need to know that and get an organizational plan together."

Burdess agreed communication will be a big key in carrying and using Narcan.

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