Cost a factor for agencies looking to carry Narcan

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s not hard to see the benefits of Narcan.

“We had an incident where a detective was exposed to a drug that caused him to have to go for medical care. That was before we had Narcan. So, that is what drove us to get a few doses of Narcan for our own employees, for our employee’s sake,” says Lieutenant Lin Dehning with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

The drug saves lives, almost instantly. And because of a new law, first responders, like police officers and firefighters can carry and administer the drug.

“It is just a funding issue right now to have it out for all of our deputies

It’s just expensive, about $39 a pop.

Dehning says the sheriff’s office relies on Sedgwick County EMS to administer the drug.

In 2015, EMS reponders administered the drug 315 times, up from 179 in 2014.

Director of Sedgwick County EMS Scott Hadley says in the past they paid around $2,100 for the drug annually, but could soon be paying as much as $12,000 for it as costs are rising.

That’s something the sheriff’s office is taking note of as it considers letting deputies carry it.

“There is also the shelf life issue about, they only last for so long, so if you buy some to have it out on the streets, what cars do you put it in?” says Dehning.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay has also said his officers would carry it if they could afford it.

Still, Hadley says they’re happy they can administer the drug.

“It may be well worth that investment, obviously, to have that medication in the first responders’ hand if it is going to save someone’s life,” says Hadley.

Many other departments like the Andover Police Department says they are working collectively with the county to see what the best and most efficient way is to access and administer the drug.

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