Delta Air Lines plans to stock its on-board emergency medical kits with Narcan, which can reverse the effects of opioid overdose, starting this fall.
Spokesman Michael Thomas said the Atlanta-based airline made the decision earlier this year.
Narcan is a brand name of the medication naloxone. The Association of Flight Attendants has called for the Federal Aviation Administration to require airlines to stock naloxone on all commercial flights and to train flight attendants to administer it.
According to the Association of Flight Attendants, United, Frontier and Alaska have planes with enhanced emergency medical kits stocked with naloxone. But without it as a standard item in emergency medical kits, people will be “at a higher risk of death by overdose in the air than on the ground,” the union told the FAA.
Delta discussed its plans to stock Narcan after a Delta Air Lines passenger tweeted about a medical incident involving a passenger on a flight.
Association of Flight Attendants international president Sara Nelson responded via Twitter that flight attendants “are aviation’s first responders and we need the proper tools to respond and save lives.”
It’s not the first time the issue has come up. A December 2018 article in the medical trade magazine EMS World detailed an incident involving a medical emergency on a Delta flight from New Orleans to Atlanta. Two paramedics who happened to be on board treated a passenger in distress as best they could. Once the plane landed, local first responders boarded the plane and successfully treated the passenger with Narcan, the EMS World article reported.
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