Brown County facing costly replacement of expiring Narcan doses

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Fewer people are dying of opioid overdoses, in part due to the antidote Narcan.

Narcan reverses the effects an overdose almost immediately. However, Narcan only has a shelf life of a few years. Now some local law enforcement agencies are scrambling to replace expiring doses.

"We're throwing away a lot of money here just because this stuff has expired, and it's just something we've got to look at as far as from a budget standpoint," says Capt. Dan Sandberg, Brown County Sheriff's Office

The department has to dispose of the Narcan that has exceeded its two-year shelf life.

"In today's day and age, with the opioid problems that we're having, it's kind of a no-brainer that we have to have it in the squad cars because of what we could possibly be seeing," Sandberg says.

All patrol deputies and squad cars are equipped with Narcan. The Brown County courthouse, jail and evidence areas are also equipped with Narcan.

Brown County deputies don't use it very often. They administered Narcan nine times in 2017 and seven times in 2018. They've used it three times to date in 2019.

The unused doses are set to expire.

Not all communities are experiencing this issue. Green Bay Metro Fire used Narcan 112 times in 2018. They've used it 38 times to date in 2019.

Capt. Sandberg says his department has no choice but to replace the Brown County Sheriff's Office's expiring Narcan. He estimates it will cost about $2,500. That comes out of an already tight budget.

Sandberg asks, "How do you put a price tag on somebody's life?"

When the program started, vials of Narcan and syringes only cost a few dollars each. However, nasal sprays used by law enforcement are more expensive. Grant money covers some of the cost, but future funding is unknown.

"When this stuff starts to get close to expiration, we're going to have to do with it," Sandberg says. "If we're going to have to budget for it or what we're going to do with our Narcan program, because it is expensive to maintain."