Overdose reversing Narcan now offered at Arlington Public Library branches

Here’s another reason to be grateful for your local library: The overdose reversal medication Naloxone (Narcan) is available at Arlington Public Library branches in Virginia.

The nasal spray can safely and effectively counter an overdose from opioids — including prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl.



In a news release, Arlington said the medicine has been added to opioid overdose emergency boxes in all seven Arlington Public Library branches. The effort is part of the government’s Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative.

“Getting NARCAN into Arlington libraries means that lifesaving resources are more readily available in the event that someone is experiencing an overdose,” said Deborah Warren, executive director of the Arlington County Community Services Board and deputy director of the Department of Human Services, in a statement.

“We’ve seen the benefits of having AEDs and first aid kits in our public spaces. This adds an important, potentially lifesaving tool to those same spaces.”

There have been 206 overdoses in Arlington since January 2020. Of those overdoses, 60 were fatal.

In 2020, Arlington saw 20 fatal overdoses; in 2021, there were 28. As of June 3, there have been 12 fatal overdoses.

The signs of an overdose include:

  • Slow or shallow breathing;
  • Cold or clammy skin;
  • Blue or grey skin, fingertips, or lips;
  • Deep gurgling or rattling snore (also known as the death rattle);
  • Sleeping and cannot be woken up;
  • Unresponsive to stimuli (like an earlobe pinch or sternum rub).

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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