Central County Fire & Rescue One of First in the Area to Carry and Administer Naloxone (Narcan®) To Reverse Heroin and Other Opioid Overdoses.
To combat the increase of heroin and other opioid drug overdoes, Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) will carry Naloxone on all of its fire trucks. Naloxone, also known as Narcan®, is a prescription medication that can save the life of someone who has overdosed by reversing the effects of heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, methadone and other opioid-based medications.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) drug overdoses cause more deaths than car crashes every year, and the rate of overdoses has more than doubled from 1999 through 2013. In the past month alone, the St. Charles County Ambulance District has administered 36 doses of Naloxone.
“When a person overdoses it causes them to stop breathing, the Naloxone almost immediately reverses this, and can save a life,” explains CCFR Chief Russ Mason. “With the increase in overdoses this is an important medication to have available to our residents.”
CCFR will be one of the first fire districts in the area to carry the intranasal Naloxone spray on all of its fire trucks. Naloxone for nasal use is given with a foam tip (nebulizer, adapter, or atomizer) that is put on a syringe, then placed into the nostril. Naloxone typically works within two to five minutes. CCFR has also replaced its manual suction devices with electronic suction units to help aid the reversal of an overdose from aspiration. All CCFR firefighters are certified EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), and can respond to life-threatening medical emergencies such as an overdose.
“In situations such as these, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. There are times when we can get there before the ambulance and begin provide life-saving medical treatment,” explains Chief Mason.
Naloxone typically wears off in 30-90 minutes and the person can stop breathing again unless more Naloxone is available. For this reason, it is important for the patient to be transported to the hospital after the overdose occurs.
All CCFR firefighter/EMTs are currently being trained on the proper use of Naloxone, and it will be available on all of the trucks as soon as that has been completed.