The use of opiates and heroin has been a nationwide problem over the last few years. In Kansas, the state has seen a 71 percent rise in heroin overdoses from 2013 through 2015.
With legislation currently in progress, Kansas may become one of the other 47 states that allows Naloxone or Narcan, a drug that counteracts the effects of narcotics, to be carried on first responders or paramedics.
“There are other states that have less restrictions,” DCCCA director of prevention and leadership Chrissy Mayer said. “In Oklahoma, anyone can have access. They have free distribution sites, first responders carry it and they do a lot of training on how to administer the Narcan.”
With Naloxone, the drug can save lives, according to Mayer. But director of behavioral health services Sandra Dixon says otherwise.
Dixon said the drug could cause people to think they could overdose and go right back to using after Naloxone is administered to the body. Instead of that, Dixon encourages users to go straight to a rehabilitation facility.
Mayer and Dixon agree that Naloxone and Narcan would be beneficial to the state. As for Lawrence, neither person has seen a jump in heroin overdoses in the area.
“The primary drug of choice entering treatment here is methamphetamine,” Dixon said. “We do see a little bit of heroin use, but we haven’t seen the huge spike that they’ve seen in other parts of the country.”
Even though that’s what Dixon saw in DCCCA’s facility, she said that is only through what they’ve seen with people actually entering treatment, which is another issue in the state. Dixon said Kansas is underserved when it comes to rehabilitation services.