Opioid Response

It has been decided that we will not stock Naloxone HCI (Narcan), an anti-overdose drug, or train library staff to medically respond to opioid (chemicals/drugs based on opium) overdoses. Should something like this occur your response will be:


  1. Call 911 to get emergency/first responders on their way. Make sure you tell them you suspect it is an overdose.
  2. Notify our internal security (panic button, etc.)
  3. Keep public away from the subject to provide the victim and the public a respectful separation and allow the responders access to help the person.


You are probably aware of the news stories about some librarians using Narcan to treat people on library property when they have an opioid overdose. A lot of discussion has occurred throughout ALA (American Library Association) and on the ULC (Urban Libraries Council) listservs. From what I’ve been able to determine from news stories at this point, overdoses typically occur outside of the library on library property, but are not typically happening in public areas of the libraries.


Our reasoning behind this decision:

  • Thankfully, Shawnee County is not experiencing a problem with opioid overdosing at this time.
  • Our off-duty officers and our internal security staff are trained to respond to these types of situations.
  • Typically, first responders arrive in a few minutes.
  • Library staff are not trained medical personnel.
  • Treating an overdose requires you to know medical information to appropriately administer treatment.
  • Significant discussion, both here and at other libraries, has occurred about potential PTSD-type (post-traumatic stress disorder) reactions for the staff involved.
  • The event is traumatic enough without the added burden of making snap medical decisions for which we are untrained and unexperienced.


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