The Surgeon General came out this week with a recommendation that more Americans carry Narcan in case of emergency overdoses.
Naloxone Hydrochloride is the ingredient in Narcan that can save the life of someone beginning to overdose. Users of prescriptions for pain, users of illicit opiates like heroin, and people close to those individuals are encouraged to have Narcan on hand.
Some emergency medical technicians in La Crosse believe Narcan is already being used frequently, though many who administer it may not be calling 9-1-1 for fear of prosecution by authorities.
"I think what's really important to know is in a lot of cases especially as the opioids become more and more potent, a single dose is not enough and so these patients can basically re-overdose without reusing drugs," said Nick Eastman, Clinical Supervisor for Tri-State Ambulance.
He added, "We're using more doses on individual patients, but we've seen less patients. I don't think we're seeing less patients because the crisis is over or is in decline."
Wisconsin does have protections in place for those who aid someone experiencing an overdose under the Good Samaritan Law. It also protects those overdosing themselves. Calling 9-1-1 in those cases is a crucial step toward receiving addiction services.