Group asks lawmakers to provide responders with heroin recovery medicine


by Renee Murphy

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 7:22 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 18 at 7:22 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Mike Sales is a recovering heroin user and says he wouldn’t be sitting here today if it weren’t for an antidote called Narcan.

Sales says he blacked out after using heroin a few years ago and came to after a paramedic gave him Narcan.

“I was in pain – it was like instant withdrawal,” he said.

A group called People Advocating Recovery is asking lawmakers to step in and pass a new law.

“The bill would allow first responders to carry Narcan with them when a heroin overdose is called in. They would be able to respond and be able to hopefully revive the individual,” Patrick Fogarty, Chief Program Officer at the Healing Place said.

Those at the healing place say the problem is too big to ignore.

“We’ve seen a 650% increase in heroin deaths since 2011. I can say at The Healing Place, out of our 48 detox beds, 40 of them at least are due to heroin use,” Fogarty said.

Paramedic Chris Loktis has used Narcan on patients and says it can stop an overdose almost instantly.

“One minute they can be unconscious, not breathing. The next, they can be alert and almost normal,” he said.

The bill has its critics and those concerned about possible side effects.

It’s part of the same bill before lawmakers that could charge heroin traffickers with homicide if a user overdoses and dies.