Syracuse firefighters putting new heroin overdose nasal spray to use

Published 04/25 2014 06:11PM

Updated 04/25 2014 07:09PM

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The Syracuse Fire Department is often among the first to respond to a drug overdose call and now they have a new tool that could save a user's life.

It’s called Narcan - or Naloxone - and it now comes in a new nasal spray.

Narcan has been used by paramedics for years, but the drug was injected.

Now, the nasal spray is easier to administer and more first responders, like EMTs, are allowed to give it.

Since fire crews in Syracuse began carrying the spray two weeks ago, they’ve already had to use it five times.

“Everyone in the department who is an EMT or higher has been trained in the use,” said Kent Young, Deputy Chief with the Syracuse Fire Department.

The Narcan kit is in every vehicle in the fire department's fleet so it’s readily available for crews to access when they are called to the scene of a heroin overdose.

When given quickly, emergency officials say it can save lives.

"We can deliver the drug much quicker and they are the first people on the scene anyway so they are able to get their quicker and have a positive outcome for the patient,” Young said.

Brad Finn with the Prevention Network is hoping the Narcan kits will save more lives, but worries it could push some users to new levels.

"I've talked to a number of people in recovery who basically expressed the thought that - by having these kits available - you've taken away the fear of overdose,” Finn said. “By removing that fear, you've opened up the possibility that someone is going to try more. They're going to push their dosage.”

Last year alone, the fire department says it responded to more than 500 drug overdose calls.

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