Heroin overdoses prompts push for sheriff’s deputies to carry antidote

A push is on in Hennepin County to allow sheriff’s deputies to carry an antidote to heroin and other opiates that can be given to someone who is overdosing.

The proposal being addressed Tuesday afternoon before a state legislative committee comes amid a wave of heroin overdose fatalities in Minnesota. Last year, there were 35 people in Hennepin and Ramsey counties who died of heroin overdoses, according to state health records.

Heroin and other opiates, including prescription drug abuse, killed 129 people in the two counties in 2012.

The antidote is called Narcan. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek will join state DFL Sen. Chris Eaton, of Brooklyn Center, at the Senate hearing in urging the creation of new laws that would allow deputies to administer Narcan.

In Wisconsin, the La Crosse Fire Department is first in line for a yearlong pilot program to train firefighters to use naloxone. It’s been done in New York and Massachusetts, also, where cities have since reported decreases in overdose deaths.

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