Pharmacist: This drug could save lives from heroin overdose

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. -- A drug problem on the streets in this area could put your family's safety at risk.

Medics responded to six heroin overdoses on Monday in Seattle alone.

It’s an issue everyone should be following, including a new push for emergency medication that could save lives.

That drug is called Naloxone and it’s an antidote for people overdosing on heroin and some prescription narcotics.

The problem is so bad in Snohomish County that heath officials and law enforcement are calling it an epidemic.

Naloxone is delivered to patients with a quick spray up the nose.

It’s not available over-the-counter but Bellgrove Pharmacies works with physicians to get the medicine into the hands of people that can help stop an overdose from turning lethal.

“Family members, friend, roommate, who knows they have someone in their household that may overdose on a medication can get a kit,” said pharmacist Steve Singer.

According to a new report from the Snohomish County Health Department, between 2011 and 2013, one of every five heroin overdoses in Washington state happened in Snohomish County.

Heroin overdoses killed 39 people in north Everett and on the Tulalip Reservation.

The number of Native Americans overdosing is three times the state average.

Naloxone kits are available at four pharmacies across Snohomish County in Stanwood, Monroe, Marysville, and Woodinville. It costs about $100.

“I have this little niche in the middle where I can get the medication to someone so that in the event there’s an overdose in their household, they can save a life,” Singer said.

But the heroin problem doesn’t only affect drug users. Police said addictions are fueling an increasing number of property crimes, too.

“Primary reason -- we have a heroin epidemic in Snohomish County,” said Shari Ireton with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

No matter how the addict pays for their drugs, Singer said it’s time to get Naloxone kits into more pharmacies statewide.

“We’re about saving lives here, and that’s what this is,” he said. “It’s a fire extinguisher, I hope people never have to use it, but there are folks that know they should have this particular fire extinguisher in their household.”

So far Naloxone is available in only 12 pharmacies across Washington state, but Singer said there is a push to radically expand that number in the future.