StudioTulsa on Health: Battling Opioid Overdoses with a Drug Known as Narcan

Jun 13, 2014

On this edition of ST on Health, we learn about Narcan, a/k/a Naloxone, which is a well-known and widely used opioid antagonist --- meaning, it's a drug that works to quickly block the effects of heroin, morphine, and similar opiates/sedatives. Narcan is thus administered in many instances where a person is experiencing (or has just recently experienced) a drug overdose; in this way, Narcan, which was originally developed in the 1960s, is thought to have saved some 50,000 lives nationally. Therefore, the Tulsa Police Department has now started to train its officers in how to nasally administer Narcan "at the scene" (or "on the street," as it were) in emergency, overdose-related situations. Our two guests --- who speak about this Tulsa Police Department initiative, which began last fall, and about how exactly it got underway and why it began in Tulsa in particular --- are TPD Officer Anthony First (who's leading the TPD's training in this regard) and Dr. William H. Yarborough of OU-Tulsa (who specializes in addiction medicine, pain management, and internal medicine).