The Otis Library in Norwich is one of the latest public buildings in Connecticut to carry a dose of Narcan, the life-saving antidote to an opioid overdose, and they have already had to use it.
Bob Farwell, the library’s executive director, said he made the decision to carry Narcan about a month ago, not knowing he would have to use it so soon.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that southeastern Connecticut has had a challenging time with opioid overdoses. There have been a number of those in Norwich,” Farwell said.
In 2017, 1,038 people died in Connecticut from accidental drug overdoses, a number of them in Norwich, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
“These are things that we just couldn’t ignore as community challenges and that led us to the decision to at least have one person on the staff who was trained,” said Farwell.
On Monday afternoon, Farwell said, a man was found inside the library, unresponsive. Farwell felt for his pulse and then immediately administered Narcan.
“It’s part functioning on instinct and hoping that the training you’ve had kicks in,” said Farwell.
It was at Norwich Human Services that Farwell received that training and the dose of Narcan.
People we spoke with who live and work in Norwich said they were happy to hear the library staff intervened and they think it is a good thing the library has Narcan on hand.
“Anything you can do to help a person in trouble, I think that’s a good thing. As long as there’s trained personnel here who know how to administer it, then it’s probably worth having it nearby,” said Tom Tassias, who works in Norwich.
Others think this recent incident proves it is worth having Narcan in other public places around the city.
“I think it should be in more professional buildings in the area,” Jeffrey Brewer, of Uncasville, said.
The director said he wants people to know the library is still a safe environment and he said he is hoping Monday was the one and only time he will ever have to administer Narcan.