But something happens when civilians receive greater access to the life-saving drug: Its usage becomes harder to track. That’s because when more naloxone gets in the hands of private civilians, many of whom may be drug users themselves, they’re able to administer the drug — usually Narcan, the brand-name for the version given nasally — before paramedics arrive on the scene. And increasingly, health department officials say, paramedics aren’t being called at all. “People using drugs are doing this all the time and not reporting it,” says Allison Herens, the health department’s harm reduction coordinator, who performs naloxone trainings and tracks its use citywide.
By David Murrell