Since Jan. 26 2018, the Tacoma Fire Department is circulating free opioid rescue kits to citizens of Tacoma, in collaboration with University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute and Point Defiance Aids Project.
The rescue kit contains Narcan, a fast acting nasal spray drug, which helps reverse the effects of opioid overdose. It can be administered easily, quickly and effectively to save a person from potential death due to overdose symptoms.
The Washington State Department of Health stated that an estimated two people in the state of Washington die from opioid overdose every day. The emergency medical services data in Massachusetts reported that the right application of Narcan has saved over 90 percent of people undergoing opioid overdose.
Tacoma Fire has gotten a five-year grant for the project through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and have increased their efforts to promote safety measures. Since 2013, Tacoma Fire has increased Narcan administration on patients by 50 percent.
Kurt Gordon, who has been a paramedic at Tacoma Fire for the last 9 years, highlighted that a task force was formed to help curb opioid addiction. He stated that once people had called into report an opioid overdose, the patient was provided a kit right after successful treatment.
By implementation of these measures, Tacoma Fire is aiming not only to help save people in immediate danger, but also to help motivate opioid addicts to seek help for treatment, recovery and reducing chances of potential death.
Individuals who want to reach out to paramedics and treatment centers can also get relevant information along with the kit. The information pamphlet contains contact details of entities involved in successful medical care programs for addicts.
Gordon also revealed that since the inception of this program, two people have already been saved from permanent overdose effects, and provided rescue kits on the spot. While one of the patients has already sought out help from one of the medical care programs for extensive treatment.
“I believe that this problem, the opioid epidemic, is reaching everyone’s home. It’s just not restricted to alleys and the dark places that we imagine,” Gordon said. “Our goal here is to help the maximum number of people victim of this epidemic, people that are reluctant to take the first step towards treatment.”