Narcan - A Tool to help Save Lives and the Rise of Fentanyl

Published on 24 April 2023 at 18:07

The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas are known worldwide, but behind the neon lights and slot machines lies a darker reality. Las Vegas is one of the cities most affected by the opioid epidemic, with overdose rates that have steadily risen in recent years. But as the city faces this crisis head-on, it has found a powerful tool in the fight against overdose: Narcan. We'll explore the need and use of Narcan in the casino setting, and how it's saving lives.

Las Vegas is no stranger to addiction and substance abuse. In recent years, the city has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic namely Fentanyl, with overdose rates that have risen to alarming levels. According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), there were 564 overdose deaths in Clark County in 2018 alone, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

The opioid epidemic has affected every aspect of life in Las Vegas, including the casino industry. With so many people visiting the city, and with so many casinos in one place, the chances of an overdose occurring on casino property are high. That's where Narcan comes in. Narcan, also known as naloxone, is a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. When administered in a timely manner, it can save lives. But the key is to have it on hand when it's needed most.

Fentanyl use and overdose are becoming increasingly common in the casino setting. According to a report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, there were 140 fentanyl-related deaths in Clark County in 2018. Many of these deaths occurred in the hospitality setting, where people were using fentanyl recreationally.

One of the reasons why fentanyl use is so prevalent in the casino setting is that it is a potent drug that can produce a high with just a small amount. This makes it an attractive option for people who are looking for a quick and intense high. Additionally, fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, which can make it even more dangerous.

Having Narcan on hand is only part of the solution. To be truly effective, casino staff must also be trained in how to administer it. Many casinos in Las Vegas have already taken steps to train their staff in Narcan administration, with some even making it a requirement for certain employees. The Las Vegas Fire Department (LVFD) has been instrumental in providing this training to casino staff, with personnel visiting casinos to teach employees how to recognize the signs of an overdose and how to administer Narcan safely and effectively. We recently had LVFD train our staff in its use as well as they provided the first initial doses to carry. 

Why did we decide to bring this on board? I was sent a video from our chiefs association from the San Diego Sheriffs Department and in this video it should a rookie officer doing a bag search and the officer suddenly pass out.  His partner immediately recognized what had happened and administered doses of Narcan bringing this man back to life. Upon watching this it made me realize that this could happen to my staff especially when we deal with a lot of Lost & Found.  We get bags left behind a lot. I spoke with my bosses and was given the green light to reach out to the LVFD and get this valuable training and life saving product in our hands.

The use of Narcan in the casino setting has already shown remarkable success. Since our deployment, our staff has already had to go into action with its use.  On several occasions, officers have arrived on scene only to see the signs that were just taught to them and administered the Narcan saving three lives this past year alone, including an employee. I'm proud to say that all three left the building breathing and coherent.


The opioid epidemic in Las Vegas is a complex problem, but Narcan has proven to be an effective tool in the fight against overdose. With more and more casinos training their staff in Narcan administration, and with the LVFD providing crucial support, the chances of saving lives here in Las Vegas have never been higher. The need for Narcan in the casino setting is clear, and its use is already making a difference.

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