EVERETT, Wash. — South County Fire is now including training on how to use the overdose-reversing drug Narcan in its first aid and CPR classes to help combat the opioid crisis in Snohomish County.
"Somebody has to call 911, somebody else has to go get help, and if you are the person left there, you have to act," Larry Hadland, a medical services officer with South County Fire, explained during a CPR class in Everett Wednesday.
The class discussed how to do chest compressions along with tourniquet training to administer the overdose antidote. Hadland demonstrated to the class how Narcan, or naloxone, works as a reversal agent when someone has had an opioid overdose.
"It helps knock the opioid off of certain receptors in the central nervous system. When people take too many opioids they become unconscious, their respiration stops," he explained.
Hadland said he has seen the opioid crisis up-close.
"In all the years I've been doing this I have never seen anything like this. It used to be heroin overdoses are few and far between and that was kind of an underground subset of people in our community. Now everybody is overdosing from opioids," said Hadland.
There was a total of 57 overdoses that appeared to be related to opioids over a seven-day period last July in Snohomish County. Two of those overdoses resulted in death. However, in 40 of the cases, naloxone saved the person’s life.
"It can work in as quick as 15 seconds," Hadland said.
Pam Dittrich is with the Milltown Sailing Association. She wanted South County Fire to bring their training to her group.
"We may need to know how to do this. This is why it is important. We need to be prepared," said Dittrich.
South County Fire offers ACT to Save a Life First Aid classes on the third Thursday of each month at the Lynnwood Civic Center starting at 5 p.m.
The classes are free, but you must register in advance. Click here for more information.