ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Some City Councilors are backing a bill to put the life-saving medicine Narcan, which reverses the effects of a drug overdose, in a long list of city-owned and publicly accessible facilities.
Doctors, paramedics and EMTs use it on patients — some law enforcement officers have used it, too. But soon, Narcan could be in the hands of city of Albuquerque employees: your local librarian or a lifeguard.
“Overdoses are an epidemic in our state,” Councilor Dan Lewis of District 5 said.
Lewis and Councilor Diane Gibson are backing the bill that would put Narcan in dozens of city facilities across town. Libraries, pools, parks, community centers, senior centers, the Kimo Theatre, the Eagle Rock recycling drop-off and the Zoo are some of the facilities.
“The kind of facilities where many, many people walk through those doors,” Lewis said. “And we want to make sure we have a life saving drug available.”
The bill says certain city employees would be trained in how to administer the drug.
First responders with experience in using the drug said sometimes, people given Narcan come out of the overdose irritable and aggressive, presenting a potentially dangerous situation.
KRQE News 13 asked Lewis about that.
“I’ve never heard of being saved and coming out of a near point of death and being regretful of that,” he said.
But the Mayor’s Office says it has considered that issue and other details about the bill as it has watched it make its way through City Council.
“We have to ensure that those employees trained to utilize this Narcan have all the precautions necessary,” Gilbert Montaño, Chief of Staff of the Mayor’s Office, said.
Other issues include if a city employee doesn’t feel comfortable enough to administer the drug, does the city become liable for not helping the overdosed person?
Still, Montaño said, with most of the concerning kinks now worked out, the Mayor’s Office supports the potentially life-saving idea.
The bill went before council Monday night for a final vote, but was deferred to the Dec. 5 meeting for action.
The bill says the Narcan program would come at a cost of $7,500.