Six people have overdosed at Denver's Central Library this year; staff trained for Narcan

DENVER – Staff at Denver’s Central Library is receiving training on how to administer Narcan after six people overdosed at the library since Jan. 1.

The Denver Public Library says it ordered 12 Narcan kits in February, which it received on Feb. 28. It says it used one of the kits to treat an overdose that very day.

"It's a frightening thing," said Rachel Fewell, central library administrator for the Denver Public Library. "And it can be scary. But, I'm feeling less scared now that we have a tool that can help keep people alive."

The library this week received another shipment of 36 kits.

"We see customers in here experiencing all kinds of things," Fewell said. "We started to notice that we had customers who needed some help."

The library says that two community resource specialists, a peer navigator and 13 security officers have received training for administering Narcan.

"It was a really quick turn around. We kind of made the decision maybe in early February that yes, we really want to do this," Fewell said. "It's a nasal spray. It's not a scary injectable."

In simplest terms - Narcan immediately blocks an overdosing person's brain receptors from receiving opioids.

Each kit costs $75.

The library says the instances in which security officers administered the Narcan resulted in the patient stabilizing and either being released on their own recognizance or being transported to a hospital.

Narcan is a nasal spray used to reverse the effects of an overdose from opioids, including heroin and fentanyl.

The library says it first started tracking overdoses when it first received the Narcan shipments.

A recent report shows that 197 people died across Colorado last year from heroin overdoses, including 31 in Denver. The statewide total is up 756 percent since 2001, and Denver’s overdose numbers are up 933 percent since 2002, when only three heroin overdoses were recorded.

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