RFD Uses New Drug to Revive Overdoses
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Paramedics at the Rochester Fire Department now have a new tool to help patients suffering from an opiate drug overdose. Emergency Medical Technicians can now administer the drug Naloxone to prevent respiratory failure.
The Rochester Fire Department's medical director says that the nationwide crisis of prescription and illicit opiate drug use results in thousands of deaths a year. Firefighters and EMT's say that every second counts when it comes to reversing the effects of an overdose from drugs and that Naloxone or Narcan can help first responders save lives.
The Rochester Fire Department now carries a small kit of Naloxone, it's a drug given through the nasal passages of someone overdosing on drugs like heroin or Demerol.
It enters the bloodstream and has proven it can reverse the effects of opiate drugs, preventing things like brain damage, cardiac arrest and death.
So far 400 Rochester firefighters are trained in recognizing the signs of an overdose and how to safely administer the medication. This is a pilot program with the New York State Department of Health.
The Rochester Fire Department says it is the only agency west of Albany in the state pilot program and in just two weeks, Rochester firefighters have successfully revived four patients with the medication.
The state will use the results to determine if more EMT's throughout the state should be trained and able to administer Naloxone.