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Narcan being used daily for overdoses in Jacksonville, fire officials say

Narcan treats people with narcotic overdose within seconds of being administered

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Award-winning pop rock and R&B artist Demi Lovato continues to recover Tuesday night after Los Angeles authorities say she suffered from an apparent drug overdose Monday night.

Law enforcement sources said the singer was treated with Narcan, an emergency treatment for narcotic overdose.

Narcan is a drug that reverses the effects of overdose from opioids, and it even has the ability to take away the high people feel when they are abusing narcotics.

Firefighters and paramedics are using Narcan on a daily basis to revive people who have overdosed on illegal narcotics like heroin and prescription painkillers. 

Lovato’s brush with death in West Hollywood is no different than what first responders often see in Jacksonville.

It’s no secret that Lovato had dealt with drug abuse and even underwent treatment for her addiction. In fact, last month she released a song called “Sober” in which she revealed she was once again abusing drugs.

Her story sheds light on a familiar problem in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Firefighter Association President Randy Wyse said Jacksonville is dealing with an opioid crisis so bad that emergency crews are using Narcan every day. Narcan, a drug that treats people with a narcotic overdose within seconds of being administered, is in such high demand, Wyse said, that at one point, emergency crews were having a hard time keeping it in stock.

“Some crews go to four or five overdoses a day, depending where in town, so every morning they come in and check the trucks to make sure they’re stocked properly, and if there is a shortage, the chiefs will come in and supply them,” Wyse said.

Narcan can be administered through an IV, a shot into the muscle or through the nose.

“It’s very imperative you get it in quickly, because what happens in your respiratory system is depressed,” Wyse said. “They basically quit breathing, so the quicker you can give them Narcan to reverse that, the better chance they have at surviving.”

Wyse said firefighters have found themselves going back to the same locations.

“I’ll tell you that when they pull up, they see a patient and they immediately know their name, middle name, date of birth and Social Security number,” Wyse said. “They can just write it without even asking them because they respond to them over and over and over.”

Narcan is not free. If a patient has insurance, their insurance gets billed. If they don’t have insurance, taxpayers are left footing the bill.


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