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Franklin officers to carry life-saving drug

The Franklin Town Council recently approved a $700 expense that will allow the town’s police force to be armed with a life-saving drug Narcan.

Narcan (naloxone) is a nasal spray that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose when administered. Since the Good Samaritan law was changed a few years ago to allow people to administer the drug without fear of liability, more and more law enforcement agencies have been keeping a supply on hand and training their officers on the proper way to administer it when they come into contact with a possible overdose.

Jeremy Cabe, Macon County’s EMS supervisor, recently made a presentation before the Franklin board about the drug and the benefits of keeping it in officers’ patrol vehicles.

“EMS have been using Narcan for years. Now it has been approved for first responders and lay persons to use,” Cabe told the town board. “It is very safe to use, and we are seeing an increasing need for it in the county. It has a very easy implementation as far as training and the safety aspect.”

Cabe said Macon County has administered 67 doses of Narcan since January. Since 2013, Narcan has helped reverse about 7,000 drug overdoses in North Carolina.

The Franklin board approved equipping all 18 of its patrol vehicles with a Narcan kit. Each kit costs $39.20.

Cabe said the town would pay the upfront cost but wouldn’t have to pay to replace each kit used by Franklin police officers. When a county ambulance comes to transport the overdose patient, EMS will replace the patrolman’s kit from the ambulance.

“You only have to replace it if it goes out of date,” Cabe said, adding that kits have a one-year shelf life.

Cabe said the only side effects from Narcan could occur after the reversal, which is why it’s crucial that patients be taken to the hospital for evaluation after it’s administered.

The county EMS’s average response time is less than 10 minutes, but Franklin’s average response time in town is less than 5 minutes, which means Franklin officers are likely to be the first on the scene and can save someone’s life if they’re overdosing.

“It’s saved a bunch of lives,” Mayor Bob Scott said. “The opioid situation is not getting better.”

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