GRAND FORKS — Narcan is keeping people in Grand Forks alive.
"Waiting for treatment that could be a death sentence for you," said Michael Dulitz, opioid response project coordinator at Grand Forks Public Health.
Since the beginning of last year, at least one life has been saved through by the influx of Narcan, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, in the community.
"Training over 500 people on overdose recognition and how to administer Narcan, it kind of changes the narrative," Dulitz said.
Local law enforcement, such as the sheriff's department and police, have and know how to use the drug.
More than 270 kits have been passed out so far.
"We want to make sure you have what you need to stay alive and stay healthy until you can get into treatment," Dulitz said. "But we also need that treatment infrastructure."
Many of the kits are going to law enforcement, but employees at public hot spots like the library, the transit station and even the Ralph Engelstad Arena have all been trained to use Narcan.
Staff at middle and high schools are prepared as well.
"They have had training since they have so many different community members coming through," Dulitz said.
WDAY News has learned Valley Community Health Center has a medication assisted treatment program to help wane people addicted to opioids off the drugs.
"People are spreading it by word of mouth,” Dulitz said. “They're telling their friends. They realize this is what the missing component was for them to get into recovery."
Nearby, the opioid response coordinator tells me Inspire Pharmacy will give addicts and their families a Narcan prescription for free.
This summer, months went by with no overdoses.
But with three opioid-related deaths this year, city leaders are hoping wider availability will stop opioids from taking another life.
"We just have a long way to go to get it up and running and get the community aware of what's available," Dulitz said.