Getting naloxone in the hands of North Dakotans

Battling the opioid crisis in the state is bringing many agencies together. And it's putting a valuable tool in the hands of North Dakotans. 

Three weeks ago, North Dakota's Governor Doug Burgum signed an executive order to make an opioid overdose reversal drug easily accessible. It's aim is to combat an already serious overdose problem hitting the state. 

"This is a big crisis. And it's a crisis that is driven by the fact and driven awareness by the fact that this touches everybody," said Governor Burgum.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can be administered easily in the form of a nasal spray. Many state agencies are already carrying the drug, including the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Sgt. Coughlin: "Our primary duty is to save lives. And we are the first responders in many occassions. We are there before the ambulance and it imperative that we get that treatment to these people as quick as we can so that when the ambulance gets there, we can continue to treat the issue," said North Dakota Highway Patrol Sergeant Tim Coughin Jr. 

Earlier this year, North Dakota recieved a $2 million dollar federal grant to fight the problem and over half of it has already gone to local communities. Anyone is able to carry naloxone on them - and can get it without a perscription at participating pharmacies. To see a list, visit the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy's website. 

Governor Burgum added, "When there is a live-saving tool that's available that requires almost no training, to be able to deliver it, then we said, 'hey, lets get this in the hands of everyone.'"

There's still work to be done. As of right now, only 75% of ambulance services across the state carry the life-saving drug.

"25% of the people who were answering ambulance calls today did not have these products in their hands. So, we want to get 100% as one of the first things we want to do in our state," said Governor Burgum. 

At this year's recovery reinvented, $50,000 worth of naloxone was handed out to participants. And 5 days later, they got word it saved a life.

Governor Burgum also said each of the 4 main tribes in North Dakota are receiving a grant of $70,000 to go directly into their treatment programs.


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