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Employees of a vape shop in Montana trained to deliver Narcan



Billings, Montana – One of the few establishments on Broadwater Avenue in Billings that is open past midnight is B-Town Vapes & Glass.

The manager of the store wants personnel to be prepared to assist because numerous customers have presented with fentanyl overdoses.

Nicholas Tietz, the owner of the store, used to be a paramedic and has seen cases of fentanyl overdose.

“Seems like they’re dead or gray,” Tietz said. “They’re sometimes purple and they’re not breathing. It’s definitely one of those situations that it’s very life-threatening.”

He said, “Our staff members are essentially first responders who must dial 911 or do CPR. And it’s emotionally very difficult for them.

Tietz aims to save lives in addition to making things simpler for his workers.

So he requested some free Narcan or Naxolone from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, which is used to treat opiate overdoses.

“We’ve had an incident before where they don’t get out or anything but someone has passed out in their car,” said Tori Chandler, B-Town’s district manager. “CPR was administered and an ambulance had to be called but it could have easily been just a Narcan administration.”

Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s office reports that 48 more fentanyl overdoses have been reported in Montana so far this year, bringing the total to 77 in the previous year.

Management at B-Town contacted RiverStone Health to immediately train staff members how to administer Narcan.

“You put it up the nose you just push it and then it just sprays Narcan up into the nasal passage which gets absorbed into the brain,” said Erica Jarussi, Riverstone Health prevention health specialist.

Although it may occasionally require more than one dose, RiverStone Health claims that this medication saves lives.

Jarussi claimed that Narcan has no side effects.

It is advised that everyone carry Narcan because it can be used to treat an unintentional overdose of a prescription opioid.

Estimating how many lives are saved and how many overdoses occur is tricky.

“Probably three-quarters of overdoses go unreported because a lot of the community if they’re doing illicit drugs, they’re not going to call 911 for help,” Jarussi said.

And because of this, B-Town wants its three businesses to serve as a source for Narcan.

“If anyone comes in and asks about it, it’s theirs for the taking,” said Chandler. “No questions asked. Judgment-free zone.”

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