For the first time in 30 years, opioid overdose deaths are down. Health officials and first responders say they know why as they point to one critical tool saving more lives.
Benjamin Rohde remembers one of his first calls as a first responder. He said when his crew entered the home, drug paraphernalia was on the table. The patient, blue in the face, was unconscious and has not been breathing for a while. To save the patient’s life, the next step was obvious.
“We need to get Narcan on board to get this patient breathing again,” Rohde said. “The patient started breathing on his own again and we were actually able to get him to the hospital and we were able to save his life.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said overdoes-reversing drugs like Narcan are the reason overdose deaths nationwide and in Florida are down for the first time in 30-years.
The CDC said doctors still do not prescribe it enough. For every 69 high dose opioid prescription, there is one Narcan. But, there are people who are advocating for change. Luis Garcia travels around the country, distributing and educating people on the benefits of Narcan.
“Most states do not have a requirement that Narcan be prescribed at the same time as an opioid,” Garcia said. “But, Florida is one of the few.”
Garcia tells us as a result, Florida saw a decrease in almost 800 overdoses from 2017 to 2018.
North Collier Fire Rescue sees about two to three overdoses per week. Sometimes, even more depending if there are street drugs tainted with Fentanyl. However, it has seen fewer deaths due to Narcan.