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Officers back the use of Narcan to lower overdose deaths

502 Utahns died from drug overdoses last year alone. That's one person a day. Of the 502 drug related deaths, 323 were from prescription drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 UTAH) - Utah ranks 4th in the country for overdoses.

502 Utahns died from drug overdoses last year alone.
That's one person a day. Of the 502 drug related deaths, 323 were from prescription drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin.

"Although it may seem far away to many people the reality is in our community a lot of folks are suffering," said Salt Lake County Sheriff James Winder.

Suffering not just from illegal drugs like heroin but those prescribed by a doctor.

"A lot of these people are taking legal prescription and they take to many and then they start overdosing," said Rep. Carol Spackman Moss of District 37.

House Bill 119 addresses the overdose issue with a drug called Naloxone. First responders refer to it as Narcan.

Narcan is a nasal spray that blocks the opiate receptors and brings a person back to life.

"I've been on the street where I have been on overdoses of herion and we had to call the fire department to give them narcan. If we are offered this tool and it is something we can use and we receive the training and we can save one person it makes it worth it," said Sgt. Robin Heiden with the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Even though response times are high in the state police say it only takes minutes for someone to die from these kind of drugs.

"I would strongly encourage the legislator to adopt HB 119 given the fact that any opportunity to administrator a life saving remedy with what appears to be little risk to the community I think it is a very wise decision," said Sheriff Wilder.

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