Colorado Springs library staff trained to give Narcan

Posted at 6:00 PM, May 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 20:00:08-04

It was Cinco de Mayo. A patron at the Penrose Library in downtown Colorado Springs told security guards Tessia Warren and Eric Scott that someone was snoring in a stall in the men’s restroom. Warren, a former corrections officer, knew something wrong.

"When we entered the bathroom, through previous experience I automatically knew that it was not someone snoring, that it was an overdose."

Sure enough, the man left his drug paraphernalia on the toilet paper roll.

"It was a spoon a lighter and a needle," Scott recalled.

His breathing was dangerously shallow. But the man had locked the stall door before shooting up.  So, Warren and Scott had to pry it open with a pocket knife.

They laid him on the ground and gave him a dose of Narcan nasal spray. The man was still was unresponsive after few minutes. So, Scott gave him a second spray.

"Tess told me his eyes were blinking and so that was a huge relief to see that there was some kind of response that he hadn’t died on us," he said.

Narcan is the prescription name for naloxone, an emergency medication that is sprayed directly into a patient’s nostrils to counteract an opioid overdose. The Pike Peak Library District began training its security staff to administer Narcan back in January. 

"I’ve seen so many overdoses and there’s nothing that you can do at that point when you don’t have Narcan," Warren said. "So, for them to give us the tool to like bring somebody back from possible death, it’s amazing."

The man was responsive by the time paramedics took him away for treatment. They told Warren and Scott that he would’ve died were it not for their quick action.

"That was really relieving to know that hey we saved somebody today," said Scott.

The library district purchased 48 doses of the Narcan through a grant from Aspen Pointe. Security guards at all of the branches are now trained to give the medication.  Librarians and circulation staff at Penrose, Old Colorado City, Sand Creek and Cheyenne Mountain branches also know how to treat someone if need be.