The Blackfeet Tribal Council met Wednesday to discuss the implementation of NARCAN across the Blackfeet Reservation. NARCAN is a fast-acting drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose and is given as a nasal spray.
The Tribal Council came to the conclusion that NARCAN could be administered not only in all tribal offices, but also in Glacier Peaks, which is a school, hotel and casino. Not only will it be widely available, but all employees working in these sectors will be trained in its use, providing them with a valuable life-saving tool.
Laura Jo Kipp, Chairman of the Blackfeet Gaming Commission, said: It’s everywhere. And I don’t think it will go away any time soon. So if we can try to save lives, why not?”
Jo Kipp works closely with Glacier Peaks Casino, the site of two recent suspected fentanyl overdoses. The incident at the casino is what started the discussion within the Tribal Council for her to use NARCAN in the first place.
“The second overdose not only affected the victim, but also one of the staff. They had to be taken to the hospital for emergency services,” said Tribal Council Business. Chairman Lyle Rutherford said.
Fentanyl spreads so easily that even just breathing or touching it by an addict can result in substance trafficking. In this case, a customer who was taking fentanyl was rushed to the rescue by casino staff, but inadvertently ingested fentanyl himself simply by being in the vicinity.
Having NARCAN in the field and mandating training can significantly reduce the number of opioid-related deaths. James McNeely, his director of operations for the Blackfeet Tribe, has been impressed with the initiatives his community is taking.
“We need to come together as Blackfeet people and help young and old struggling with addiction move forward. I think it’s great that people are here.”