BANGOR – The city’s first responders’ use of Narcan seems to be reaching a plateau and it might be due to an increase the number of people carrying their own.
So far this year, Bangor police and firefighters have administered a combined total of 90 Narcan doses to people in the midst of an opiate overdose.
“If they have the Narcan, generally, a friend will administer or a family member prior to even calling us. And we may not even receive that call now,” Bangor Assistant Fire Chief Dennis Nadeau said.
In Maine, Narcan is only available with a prescription. However, 46 states allow Narcan to be sold without a prescription.
“We showed up at one call not too far from the police station for an overdose because a friend had called with a lot of panic in their voice. And by the time we got there the person they had called about, I guess you might say, had been rescued by Narcan from a friend,” Bangor police Sgt. Wade Betters said.
While the Bangor Fire Department’s emergency medical technicians started administering the naloxone nearly 20 years ago, the police only started a couple of years ago.
“I would say the numbers are pretty steady. And they’d be a lot higher if Narcan wasn’t available,” he said.
Nadeau said it is uncommon for emergency rescuers to see the same faces more than once.
“I don’t know if it’s due to the fact once they’ve done this and you’ve woke them up, and the Narcan woke them up, and you say, “Hey, you just died,’ if it curbs that,” he said
In Betters’ experience, it is rare for any of those brought back to life from an overdose to be grateful.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been to one where the patient themselves has been openly thankful or appreciative. Usually, it’s the other way. They’re a little upset,” Betters said.
It often is said by drug agents, counselors and first responders that drug addiction knows no socio-economic boundaries. When Bangor’s first responders head to drug overdose calls, they go to upscale and rundown neighborhoods and eveywhere in between.