Published: Feb 25, 2013 10:54 PM EST
Updated: Feb 26, 2013 12:05 AM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - A nationwide drug shortage has Collier County EMS asking county commissioners to adjust the way they can purchase life saving medications.

The drug shortage forced prices to sky rocket over the last year and now some of the more common drugs are the hardest to find says James Cunningham, assistant chief at North Naples Fire District

Over the last year, Collier County EMS and North Naples Fire District have worked together to keep their shelves stocked.

"We have all the medications we need to save lives, it's much more difficult to obtain them than in the past when we could simply order them and have them the next day or the next week, it takes a lot more time to get them," says EMS Chief Walter Kopka.

Popular drugs like epinephrine, atropine and D-50 are not only harder to find, but they're coming in different formats.

For example, Cunningham says, "A drug that was formerly supplied in a pre filled syringe, now they have to draw that drug in order to administer a patient. When you're at the patients side that takes an extra couple of steps in time to be able to get that drug to the patient who actually needs it."

Collier County EMS Chief Walter Kopka is going to commissioners Tuesday to get permission to buy meds "off-contract" if or when a vendor can't provide it.