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Forest rangers save lives with Narcan

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One of the challenges to the opioid crisis is the many ways addiction rears its head.

Prescription pills, illegal pills and heroin each snake their way into our communities, from wealthy neighborhoods to poverty-stricken streets.

In many of these places, immediate life-saving help is just a 9-1-1 call away, but in the wilderness of New York, in sub zero temperatures - the stakes are even higher.

“We got a call for an overdue hunter he was supposed to be home by 10 and by noon when he didn’t show up, his girlfriend called it in that he was overdue.”

It was late last year when DEC forest ranger Jeremy Oldroyd, his partner and deputies from Madison County got the call to find that hunter... A difficult task on a normal day.

“Each search is a puzzle, you’re given some clues about where that person might be so you have to use your skills and knowledge based on the subject profile and the terrain to figure out where that subject might be.”

But rather than relief when they finally found their man - things turned even worse.

“He was about a half mile into the woods he was unresponsive his face was blue his hands were blue so we could tell he was hypothermic … After I got evaluating him a little bit, I realized that he had overdosed on something so I called to the other ranger to bring in his Narcan kit as well,” Oldroyd said.

That ranger had just gone through a Narcan training program the week before, and ranger Oldroyd was scheduled for additional training the following week.

“It was fresh on our minds and we had been carrying the Narcan for approximately 6 months.”

As the hunter started to come around, rangers wrapped him in a blanket and pulled him from the woods.

It was the first time a New York state DEC forest ranger had saved someone's life using Narcan.

“The subject could have died very easily that day. Between that and the drugs it wouldn’t have been much longer.”

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