NORTH PORT — The city is taking aim at opioid overdoses by distributing the Narcan nasal spray antidote to interested parties throughout the area.

An estimated 40 people jammed a small conference room at the North Port Public Library on Tuesday night to hear more about the opioid issue in the area and also learn how to administer the spray, which counteracts the physical crisis brought about by an overdose.

“People are calling Narcan nasal spray a ‘wonder drug’,” said Karl Bennett, a division chief with the North Port Rescue District. “I don’t know if I would call it that ...but I can say that it has saved lives here in North Port.”

Bennett said all North Port police patrol car and ambulance carries a supply of Narcan.

“And using a grant, we have purchased many doses of it to get in the hands of those who may need to administer it.”

Each attendee Tuesday received a box of the medicine, which is manufactured by Adapt Pharma of Radnor, Pennsylvania.

North Port averages 18 opioid overdoses a year, he said. If a person suspects someone has passed out from an overdose, they are instructed to spray a container of the Narcan medication into the victim’s nostril.

Florida is one of the few states that allow consumers to buy Narcan over the counter if it is purchased directly from a pharmacist, he said. A box of two doses is about $200. Most other states require a prescription.

More workshops on using Narcan are planned, officials said.

“We are in the middle of a crisis with opioids,” Bennett said. “The people need to know we are getting serious about battling it.”

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