EMTs to administer Narcan

State College, Centre County, Pa. - In just a few short weeks, Centre Life Link EMTs will be able to help overdose patients in a way they hadn't been able to before.

"Previously it was a skill that you were required to be paramedic to give Narcan, but now it's more of a basic skill that an EMT is allowed to perform," Centre Life Link EMT Eliza Shaw said.

Shaw said this soon to be trend is Centre Life Link gearing up to be in compliance with new Pennsylvania protocols. 

For EMTs to be able to give naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, they must go through training with a medical command physician or take an online course. 

Overdose patients in areas with just EMTs on staff, will also be helped sooner.

"In areas where there aren't as many police officers or advanced providers, it definitely can be a benefit, as well as community members having it, it can be a benefit," Shaw said.

Last month, Williamsport had 36 overdoses in a 24-hour time span. While Shaw said they haven't seen those kinds of numbers in Centre County, they prepare for the possibility that it could when it hits larger cities.

"When we see something big happening there, we know it's ..likely to come here soon. Whether it be a different strain or something new that the drugs are being cut with," Shaw said. 

Emergency responders taking caution when treating overdose patients is nothing new, but with new substances being laced with heroin, how paramedics and EMTs protect themselves will constantly be changing. 

EMTs will be able to administer Narcan starting September 1.

 


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