In an effort to address opioid addiction in the area, the Tacoma Fire Department is deploying free rescue kits.
Each kit will contain the fast-acting, life-saving nasal spray, Narcan, and information about local recovery programs. TFD paramedics will offer the kits to opioid patients after providing emergency treatment. According to the department, there’s been a 50 percent increase in local opioid overdoses, and the Washington State Department of Health reports about two people die each day from opioid overdose.
“We want to move beyond simply treating opioid overdoses to treating the underlying addiction,” said Tacoma Fire Chief Jim Duggan in a news release. “After reversing a life-threatening overdose, TFD paramedics are well-positioned to provide referral information at a time when an individual might be most receptive to encouragement to enter a recovery program.”
Firefighter and paramedic Kurt Gordon, who is coordinating the pilot program added: “We recognize that the distribution or later use of the free kits is not the end solution, but it serves as a mechanism to begin the conversation of access to care, treatment and recovery.”
The program is being made possible by TFD’s partnership with the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute and the Point Defiance Aids Project. A five-year grant was provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.