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Iowa allows First Responders to carry anti-overdose medicine

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DAVENPORT, Iowa - A medicine that can save the life of a heroin user is now more available in Iowa. Last week, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill into law allowing first responders such as firefighters, paramedics and police officers access to administer Naloxone, also known as Narcan.

Chuck Gipson has been a paramedic for 19 years and has responded to many overdose calls where Narcan was used. "About two years ago it increased to 114 and last year we had 140 administrations," said Chuck Gipson, Quality & Education Manager, Medic EMS.

As a paramedic, he's been able to use Narcan but said this law will help them because they aren't always able to get on the scene right away. "It may be something that may be an unsafe scene, they may not want the ambulance to be in there just yet, so the first person in there, if they have that medication, they can administer that," said Gipson.

Paramedic student Annie Miller said she's responded to an overdose and has seen how Narcan can help, "it was definitely cool to see the change, to see him like all of a sudden he was just breathing better it was good."

The bill also gives legal immunity to caretaker of known addicts in case they ever need to use it, the state still needs to establish standards and procedures for non-medical professionals.

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