Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bouncers and bartenders tapped to stop overdoses

Ralph Thompson

Bouncers at nightclubs in Seattle are being trained to use the drug Narcan, which counteracts opioid overdoses. It's part of a city nightlife harm reduction initiative, in partnership with Public Health-Seattle and King County.

As part of the initiative, nightclubs are being supplied with Narcan, a brand of naloxone.

Scott Plusquellec works in the Seattle Office of Film and Music, where he is the nightlife business advocate. He says he came up with the idea after seeing a similar program in Vancouver, B.C.

While overdose deaths are rare in bars and clubs in Seattle, he says, they do happen.

In Seattle, workers are being supplied with a nasal spray form of Narcan, so they can easily administer it. He says public health officials also are training workers to recognize when someone is in danger of dying from an overdose.

"We tell them what to look for and how to approach people," Plusquellec said, "and how to do some initial reviving if possible, and then just how to use the Narcan."

One thing he says they stress is that if you accidentally give Narcan to someone who is not overdosing, it won’t harm them.

So far, 10 bars and clubs have taken part in the training. Plusquellec says he hopes the nightlife community also will respond to overdoses happening on the streets outside the venues.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.