Seattle clubs get opioid overdose antidote

SEATTLE — For 30 years, Seattle's Re-Bar has given patrons the freedom to express themselves through dance, music and the performing arts.

The club pledges safety for everyone and now that includes being ready for an opioid overdose.

Club owner Dane Wilson walked us back to the cramped office, where he showed us the new emergency kit stocked with the opioid antidote naloxone.

Naloxone nasal spraycan revive someone suffering an overdose. The kits are part of a $2,000 pilot project to spread 20 kits among 10 nightclubs.

Scott Plusquellec is Seattle's nightlife business services advocate. He modeled the program after what he saw in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“The program is designed as a preventative measure and it's not so much addressing something that is happening in the clubs per se, but that we want to be able to provide them with another tool in their kit to be able to keep their patrons safe,” Plusquellec said.

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The powerful synthetic drug fentanyl is many times stronger than heroin,  making overdoses more likely.

That's one of the reasons Wilson has his staff trained to use naloxone.

“We haven't had to use it in my time I've been here. In five years, we haven't had a heroin or fentanyl overdose inside the club. We haven't seen one outside either but I know that it's prevalent and it is in the neighborhood,” he said.

Plusquellec is asking for money in the city budget to expand the program to another 10 nightclubs.

“All the club owners that I have talked to, or the managers, have been very receptive to it and wanting to do it,” he said.

While there have been no overdoses at Re-Bar, the opioid epidemic has touched Wilson personally.

“Over the last 18 months, we've probably experienced six fentanyl- or heroin-based deaths, whether intentional or otherwise -- people who I would consider to be friends and acquaintances,” he said.

The King County Health Department is doing the training and Kelly-Ross Pharmacy is supplying the naloxone at cost.