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Willard goes whole month without Narcan

Zoe Greszler • Dec 5, 2018 at 2:00 AM

WILLARD — The Willard City Council heard good news that it may not have expected to hear. The city experienced its first full month without needing to use even one dose of Narcan.

City Manager Jim Ludban has reported a gradual decline in the local first responders’ need for Narcan, a brand name for a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdose.

In October Ludban reported during the month of September first responders administered just eight doses of Narcan to two patients, which he called “a continuation of the favorable, downward trend.” 

Then at the November council meeting, he reported the numbers for the month of October were down as well. 

“Last year in October I had to come to you and tell you we had to use like 165 doses of Narcan on like 18 people,” Ludban had said. “What a difference a year makes.”

Throughout October 2018 had to respond to issue Narcan only to one patient, he added.

“We’re feeling pretty good about that,” he said.

Now the city has even more to feel good about. During the month of November 2017, first responders administered 104 doses of Narcan to 12 patients. For the same time period this year, not one dose was administered.

“I’m happiest to report that (more than anything else this month),” he said.

“I’m not naive though. We know there are still drugs available but I do think this signifies an accomplishment on the part our police and community and the hard work they do. I really appreciate that.”

Several council members expressed their joy in hearing the lack of need for the life-saving drug.

“It doesn't just happen, it takes effort to make it happen,” Diane Olsen said referring to the police’s accomplishments. “(It’s) great to hear we didn't use any Narcan.”

In other council discussion, Ludban presented the city’s salt strategy for the upcoming winter season — namely erring to the side of conservation as prices soar. He said because “winter started early” the city has already had to use some salt in the streets. Unfortunately, though, he said he’s been looking for ways to better manage salt usage after prices “shot up.”

“For at least the first part of the year we’re going to deploy a little bit different of a salt strategy.” he said.

“If it's a minor need for salt, we're going to only put it down at the intersections and just the heavily-traveled routes. Last year we contracted more than 300 tons (of salt) and I'd like to not use 300 tons (this year). We'll just try to play it safe and not use salt at the first part of the winter.”

That doesn’t mean the city will turn a blind eye should problems arise as a result of the new strategy. 

“Certainly, though, if someone calls in and reports a problem we'll address that,” Ludban added.

“Willard currently has a contract for 300 tons of salt for this year, which came at a cost of about “$59 and change,” according to the city manager. 

“They guarantee we can get another 10 percent of that, but don't guarantee the price on it,” he said. “I know for some reason the price has been pretty high this year and in Mansfield, they're paying over $100 per ton. We try not to get into that kind of a situation. We want to try be conservative the first part of the year and go from there.”

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