Narcan Inventor Uses Narcan to Treat Man Suffering Apparent Opioid Overdose on LA Street

Roger Crystal and his wife were driving in downtown Los Angeles when they noticed a man suffering a medical emergency on a sidewalk.

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It might seem like a coincidence that a man who stopped to help an apparent opioid drug overdose victim on a Los Angeles sidewalk just happened to be carrying Narcan, a nasal spray that can treat victims in dire health emergencies.  

But that man who got out of a car to help was Roger Crystal -- the nasal spray's inventor.

Crystal was driving with his wife through downtown Los Angeles when the medically trained couple spotted the man on a sidewalk. What happened next was captured on video, which shows Crystal kneeling over a man lying on a sidewalk as a dog waits at his side.

“The reality is that if you see someone unresponsive, lying on the street in this country, it's an opioid overdose until proven otherwise,” Crystal said. 

More than 760,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Two out of three drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved an opioid, the agency reports.

Roger Crystal went to help. Wife Michelle, who was driving the car, called 911. 

She said her husband carries the nasal spray, which contains the active drug naloxone, in a bag. Police and fire departments commonly equip personnel with the drug, which blocks and counteracts the effects of opioids. 


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Crystal administered one dose. Firefighter-paramedics arrived and administered a second dose, and the man was soon able to communicate before he was transported to a hospital. 

“Yes, I am medically trained, but you can probably see from the shot that anyone can put the nasal spray up someone’s nose,” Crystal said.  “It was at least that initial step to allow him to be on his way to recovery from the overdose.”

The encounter was part of a memorable day for the couple. Earlier Thursday, they were sworn in as U.S citizens. 

"It's been an extraordinary day," Crystal said.

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