The drug Narcan has been used in Dubuque ambulances and crash carts for years, but it will likely save many more local lives this year than ever before.
Narcan, formally known as naloxone, counteracts overdose effects for opiates such as heroin and morphine. The drug is most often issued intravenously and reverses the effects of opiates within minutes of application.
Law enforcement officials are still in a fight to curb the frightening heroin abuse trend in Dubuque. Sgt. Gary Pape, director of the Dubuque Drug Task Force, said heroin investigations are up nearly 30 percent since 2010. That includes a spike from three investigations in 2011 to 19 so far in 2012. Investigations include search warrants, undercover drug purchases, seizures and traffic stops.
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