BART to arm officers with opioid overdose drug NARCAN

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- BART will be arming all of its police officers with the opioid overdose drug NARCAN in the next few months.

Many civilian BART station elevator attendants currently carry NARCAN and have successfully deployed it to save drug users.

One of those attendants, Frank Altamirano, saved the life of a man who was overdosing at the Civic Center BART station last month.

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"He didn't even have a pulse. He was already changing colors," Altamirano told ABC 7 News.

A BART passenger walking through the station, spotted the man lying on the ground, and alerted Altamirano.

The passenger stayed with the man while Altamirano rushed to get his NARCAN nasal spray.

"Once I got the NARCAN from my locker, I ran back, tore it out of the wrapper and put in his nose. That's when you could see his pulse start to take effect," Altamirano recalled.

Paramedics came and took the man to the hospital.

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The elevator attendant pilot program, which is staffed by contract workers from the Hunters Point Family organization, has been widely regarding as being successful in cleaning up BART stations.

Right now all the elevator attendant supervisors at the Civic Center and Powell street BART stations carry NARCAN.

Those stations have been popular areas for drug users to shoot up in public.

In fact, ABC 7 News saw several of them doing just that while we reporting on this story.

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BART spokesman Jim Allison said they hope to have theirs officers equipped early this year.

"We're going through all the hurdles right now, making sure we have all the I's dotted and T's crossed before we roll it out."

The value of having NARCAN on the BART system especially resonated with Altamirano, who recently lost a relative to an overdose.

"It just kinda brought it all back. So it was just a natural instinct to help."
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