Hennepin County attorney statement on Narcan alarms overdose-prevention advocates

Dr. Katherine Katzung, chair Abbott Northwestern Hospital emergency department

[MPR, September 20, 2019] A statement posted Thursday night on the Hennepin County attorney’s website sparked outrage in the overdose prevention and drug recovery communities. Advocates and physicians say the prosecutor’s office mischaracterized the anti-overdose medication Narcan, and that the agency’s words could cause people to fear the life-saving medication.

Dr. Katherine Katzung, who chairs the emergency department at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, said she frequently uses Narcan to treat patients she suspects may have overdosed.

“What the Narcan is doing is it’s trying to knock the opioid off the opioid receptor, and it’s pretty specific for that,” Katzung said. “If you were not on any opioids, there shouldn’t be any impact.”

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