ST. MARYS — St. Marys City Police will now carry Narcan in patrol vehicles to be prepared for opioid overdoses.

Most times, EMS arrives first to calls for overdoses, but in those instances when police are on the scene of an incident when someone starts to overdose, carrying Narcan could save a life.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is used to reverse the effects of opioids by temporarily blocking the receptors in the brain affected by the drugs. Overdose victims can die due to the drugs’ effects on the respiratory system, which can cause a patient to stop breathing and lead to brain death.

Narcan has been used for years by EMS personnel, generally being administered intravenously. Pennsylvania Act 139 of 2014 cleared the way for alternative tools for administration (such as nasal spray) to be carried by law enforcement.

Police additionally carry with the Narcan contact information for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Services to be provided to the overdose victim or their friends and family in order to assist the patient in obtaining continued care after their initial overdose treatment.

The Narcan carried by St. Marys police was obtained and distributed using funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Rural Opioid Reversal Grant. Penn Highlands Healthcare System administers its distribution to law enforcement in the area.