ABERDEEN, S.D. As we first told you yesterday, the Spink County Sheriff's Office saved a young girl's life with Narcan last weekend, but officers are not the only ones with access to the medication.
An Aberdeen hospital is partnering with local pharmacies to make Narcan available to the public, with or without a prescription. It's all through a new campaign Avera started up.
The safe prescribing campaign just started in Aberdeen last year.
"Checking the prescription drug monitoring database with every prescription, entering contracts so that patients understand the expectations that go along with being on a controlled substance, finally there's urine drug screens, pill counts and other ways to monitor that those meds are being used appropriately," Avera Physician and Anesthesiologist Shawna Schmidt said.
Dr. Schmidt knew this type of program was needed in the area, so she reached out to local pharmacies. Pharmacist Dave Taffe with The State Street Pharmacy was the first to jump on board.
"We work very closely with the providers being that we're in the clinic setting and we just thought it was an opportunity to provide safety for the community," Taffe said.
Now that Narcan is available without a prescription in the Hub City, pharmacists at The State Street Pharmacy went through extensive training with Dr. Schmidt.
"And their protocol on how we're going to handle a patient requesting that medication," Taffe said. "We go through screening of the patient to ask them questions pertinent to its use."
But, the use for Narcan doesn't stop at opioid overdoses.
"Patients who are at home that get pneumonia and become more sensitive to those medications, become more somnolent and you're not sure if it is their disease process or maybe the medication because they're dehydrated they're metabolizing it differently, this would be a medication that you could use," Dr. Schmidt said.
Doctors want to remind people to call 911 first if they suspect an opioid overdose. Narcan should be administered after that. The medication only helps for about 1.5 hours, but opioids can still affect a person's body hours after ingestion.