Overdose drug saving lives and well supplied in South Dakota

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Recent supply chain disruptions are impacting everything from clothes to food, and even trips to the pharmacy. Popular drugs like Adderall, oxycodone, and insulin are running low nationwide. Supplies of a life-saving drug called Narcan could also be in jeopardy.

Pfizer, the maker of Narcan, lists supplies of the injectible life-saving medication as “depleted” on its website.
However, drug stores we called have not noticed a shortage in our area. Narcan, which often comes in a nasal spray, is given to people who are overdosing on opioids, such as Oxycontin or fentanyl.

This is an example. A toddler in Alabama was exposed to fentanyl and was near death. A deputy peeled open a pack of Narcan, sprayed it in the toddler’s nose and seconds later the boy started breathing again.

Once you open the container you insert the piece on top into someone’s nostril and then you press the plunger.

Captain Adam Zishka with the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s office has saved two lives using Narcan. The first was a 20-year-old man who was unconscious and turning blue in Baltic.

“I could immediately tell there was a response his pulse rate accelerated slightly he started having some difficulty breathing, but started to breathe. A second dose was administered and that increased his pulse rate, increased his breathing even more so he started to come around,” said Captain Zishka

The young man made a full recovery within minutes.

USD professor Melissa Dittberner, an addiction expert, says the shortage of Narcan would impact more than just those who abuse drugs.

“Prescription drugs are being made available to people who are in pain, who deal with constant continued daily pain and taking those opioids it could be something from a shift in the body to where the body can’t handle that prescription or it could be an accidental overage where you are kind of out of it and still in pain so you took another dose and it could be just that easy,” said Dittberner.

Zishka says the sheriff’s office gets its supply from the state and they have not noticed a shortage. He says Narcan saves a lot more lives than people might think.

“We are looking at overdose numbers in the United States that are epidemic in proportion, these are numbers that we’ve never seen in the United States in our history, I firmly believe these numbers would be much greater if it wasn’t for the use of Narcan,” said Captain Zishka.

So for now the hope is manufacturing and supply chain problems are fixed before a shortage impacts those on the front lines.

Narcan is easy to get and use. Anyone can purchase the treatment at a drug store without a prescription.

The South Dakota Department of Health tells KELOLAND News that they are well-prepared for instances like this. They are well-stocked at this time, and no shortages have been reported in South Dakota to the Department of Health.

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