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Overdose antidote now credited with saving a life in Minnesota

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The fire department that was the first in Minnesota to begin carrying the anti-overdose drug Narcan now credits the antidote with saving a man's life.

Coon Rapids firefighters say crews responding to an overdose call on Nov. 28 administered Narcan to an unresponsive 24-year-old who soon started breathing again, MPR News reports.

This year Minnesota passed a law authorizing first responders to administer the antidote, which can restart the respiratory systems of those who have overdosed on opiate, including heroin and several prescription painkillers.

Until the new law took effect, only ambulance crews were permitted to administer Narcan at the scene of an emergency, FOX 9 says.

Authorities say firefighters often arrive before ambulance crews. Coon Rapids Fire Chief John Piper tells FOX: “Now that our emergency responders can carry this drug on our vehicles, it gives patients even more chances for survival as every minute counts in a medical emergency.”

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The Hennepin County Sheriff's Department was the first Minnesota agency to begin routinely carrying the antidote in August. MPR says the following month Coon Rapids became the state's first fire department to carry it.

Around the country, some supporters of Narcan's use are campaigning for states to enact laws allowing the general public to administer it.

But Harrisburg television station FOX 43 reported Friday that in Pennsylvania the expanded demand for the drug has pushed up costs. The member of one medical crew tells the station their contract with a supplier allows them to pay $16 for a dose of Narcan, but he's seen it on the retail market for as much as $52 a dose.

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