This makes me nervous.
In case you’ve been living in a religious commune for the last few years, Narcan is an opioid overdose reversal drug. If someone ODs on heroin – or Oxycontin, or fentanyl, or carfentanil, or whatever hyper-concentrated painkiller hits the street by the time this article gets published – they usually can be revived by a quick spray of Narcan up the nostrils.
Cops call this “bringing them back.”
This makes me nervous because one might assume a person with not one, but two Narcan applicators stashed in their car would be addicted to opioids. It doesn’t help that my car is often filthy, and the Narcan is dumped unceremoniously amongst a pile of rollie butts in the car’s central counsel.
But – just to be clear – I am not addicted to opioids. I got the Narcan while conducting interviews for this article, an in-depth dive into fentanyl in the Hudson Valley. Two different police chiefs handed me the applicators when the subject of Narcan came up and told me to keep them.
I have an (over-) active imagination, which I often let loose during my long drives around the Hudson Valley, and it’s really run rampant with the Narcan concept. It could go really well:
ROGER enters the gas station bathroom and sees a FRAIL MAN slumped over the toilet, a hypodermic needle in his arm.
ROGER: Sir? (shaking the man) SIR!? (a look of panic crosses Roger’s face as he stands, then, the lightbulb turns on, and he rushes into action).
ROGER runs to his car and grabs the NARCAN. As he runs back, a group of GAWKERS has gathered.
ROGER: Stand back! This man has overdosed on an opioid!
Roger kneels next to the FRAIL MAN, tears the NARCAN from its packaging, and sprays it up the man’s nose. The frail man sits up, his hand to his forehead.
ROGER: (authoritatively) Give him room!!
FRAIL MAN: I…I must’ve overdosed on that opioid! NOW I see the error of my ways! (stands, places fists on hips) Take me to rehab!
The GAWKERS burst into applause. Roger smiles with the moral relief of a man who has stood around uselessly snapping pictures in hundreds of emergency situations, situations where everyone else at the scene is trying to save lives while wishing the reporter would fuck off.
PARAMEDIC: (entering suddenly) Thank God you acted so quickly! Feel free to ride along in the Ambo to whatever tragedy you want!
POLICE CHIEF: (entering, also suddenly) Roger! You’re a hero! The sentence ‘we cannot discuss details, as the investigation is still pending,’ doesn’t exist between us anymore, buddy! And look, here comes the President of the World!
PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD: Hi Roger. I’m the president of the world. Here’s a medal.
PARAMEDIC: Hey, look, it’s Lindsey Lohan before she developed a drug habit!
LOHAN: (seductively) Hey, fellas. Who owns that banged-up Nissan out front – I need a ride.
Yeah, the narrative gets pretty puerile towards the end. The negative fantasy involving the Narcan – which is a lot more likely to actually happen – involves being pulled over and the cop seeing the Narcan and becoming suspicious.
However, if I played my cards suavely, the conversation could go:
COP: Why’ve ya got two Narcans in your car?
ROGER: I dunno – why don’t you ask your BOSS?
…which would be pretty sweet too.
Either fantasy will probably not happen. Not because there aren’t a horrifying number of overdoses in the Hudson Valley, but because reality is harsher.
I could open the door to a dead body. It could be too late.
But I’m going to continue carrying the Narcan in my car. Because in this harsh realty, you should take any precautions you can.