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Will Narcan stop being effective as stronger drugs pop up in heroin?

Posted at 12:06 AM, Sep 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-24 00:06:59-04
Every day in Palm Beach County paramedics are bringing back heroin users from overdoses with Narcan. It's an opiate antidote more fire and police departments are using, but its effectiveness may be short lived. 
 
"The problem with heroin is, what is it cut with? And nobody knows," said Dr. Marc Romano with Ocean Breeze Recovery in Pompano Beach.
 
Dr. Romano believe it's only a matter of time before Carfentanil, an opiate so potent it's used to tranquilize elephants is introduced in heroin locally. 
 
"With Carfentanil what they are seeing in Ohio and other places is the their giving them 2 milligrams, 4 milligrams, 6 milligrams, 8 milligrams and people are not coming out of the overdose state," said Dr. Romano.
 
We've recently seen law enforcement's warnings about Fentanyl, another powerful opiate that caused 60 overdoses in Palm Beach County just during the first two months of the year. 
 
"When my son took his first puff he was gone. There was nothing that anybody could have done because it was 100 percent Fentanyl," said Peggy Hernandez. 
 
This February Hernandez lost her son Christian 'Ty' Hernandez, 23, to a Fentanyl overdose. He thought he bought heroin. Hernandez did not know her son was a user. The medical examiner told her even Narcan would not have helped. 
 
"The problem that we are having is that Narcan or Naloxone that is the antidote is not working and we have to give more and more of it," added Dr. Romano.
 
He says as it is departments have limited supply of Narcan. If  they don't have another dose to inject, there may not be much more they can do. 
 
"When a person is in an overdose state and you can't give them another injection of Narcan, there's nothing more you can do, they're going to die," said Dr. Romano. 
 
Records at the the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office show there have not been any overdoses related to Carfentanil yet this year. 
 
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