First responders witness demand for Narcan firsthand - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

First responders witness demand for Narcan firsthand

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Narcan has saved countless lives since it came onto the market.

As the opioid crisis spirals, the demand for emergency doses have paramedics working to keep the overdose reversal drug stocked and ready. 

More than 115 people die every day in the United States from an overdose, according to the Centers of Disease Control.

The brave first responders at the Greenfield Fire Department are on the front lines trying to save victims to the opioid crisis.

Narcan, the opioid reversal drug, is the premiere line of defense when rescuing a patient, but keeping a large stock readily available can be tough when overdose calls spike.

"We've had several occasions where we've had multiple overdoses in a given period of time. If it happens at night, we have to restock in the morning at the local hospital," said Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan. 

Stocking up in such a short period of time is a reflection on the demands first responders face, but this is only one piece of the problem.

"If the first dose of Narcan doesn't do it we can give a second dose of Narcan," said Chief Strahan. 

Many times drugs are laced with powerful substances which means some patients might need more than one dose of narcan.

"In years past, one dose of Narcan might bring the person back from an overdose. Nowadays, with heroin being mixed with the fentanyl, the person not knowing that might use the heroin the same dose that he normally would. Unfortunately it's mixed with the fentanyl which is 50 times more potent and can cause an overdose," said South Hadley Fire Captain Jim Pula. 

For every call, firefighters fulfill a call to protect and serve their community, and with each call to assist with an overdose more than one life is forever changed.  

"I think every time the firefighters and first responders take a little piece of that with them," Chief Strahan noted. 

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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