SEATTLE — With opioid-related overdose deaths on the rise, Seattle and King County officials are urging people to get trained on and carry Narcan. The Seattle Public Library is planning training for staff who volunteer.
One box has the potential to save a life.
"It's just one push, one dose," said Claudia Heiden, who keeps Narcan in her car. "You never know when there's going to be an overdose."
It's ready to be used at a moment's notice.
"It makes me feel really good inside to know that if I did see somebody overdosing, I could help them and I'm prepared," said Heiden, who has been carrying it since 2016.
She understands addiction. Her daughter is now six months clean.
"The last time I picked her up for treatment, she walked out to the car, she looked like every addict on the street. Every addict that I see, I think they have a parent just like me," Heiden said.
She picked Narcan up from a pharmacy, no prescription needed, with a $5 copay.
"It's very easy and everybody should carry it," said Heiden.
Seattle and King County Public Health agreed in a statement saying they want as many people as possible trained with Narcan on hand.
According to King County's Fatal Overdose Dashboard, fentanyl-related overdoses have already exceeded last year's. In 2021, there were 385 fentanyl-related overdoses. As of Wednesday, there have been so far 433 this year.
The Seattle Public Library is rolling out a program where employees can volunteer to be trained to administer Narcan.
"It came about because a staff member expressed an interest in doing so with their supervisor so the Library Administration evaluated the idea and thought we could move forward with it," said Rick Sheridan, the director of Institutional and Strategic Advancement at the Seattle Public Library.
Sheridan said the program is still a couple of months out.
"At this point, we're working to secure the medication so we can position it in facilities and also provide training to staff volunteers," he said.
Narcan is another tool, like CPR, that can save lives.
"We all need to look out for everybody else and you can't help someone if they're not alive," said Heiden.
Because the Seattle Public Library program uses staff volunteers, it can't guarantee every branch will have Narcan. There are programs that offer free Narcan, you can find them on stopoverdose.org. They also mail free kits to anyone in Washington.