New York City has launched a new program that allows members of the FDNY EMS unit to leave a drug overdose kit with people who were just revived.
The Leave Behind Naloxone Program, begun Friday, is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration’s expansion of the HealingNYC plan aimed at combating the opioid epidemic, according to the fire department.
FDNY EMS members who are trained and equipped to use naloxone can now offer a spare kit of the drug to people who are being transported to the hospital after an overdose or leave it at the scene if they refuse to get in an ambulance.
Friends and family members of people brought back from an overdose using naloxone can also request a kit, according to the fire department.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and city Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said the program will expand the availability of the lifesaving drug to those who need it most, helping to prevent overdose deaths.
“Providing lifesaving treatment, as well as education and instructions to prevent loss of life, is critical to the department’s sworn mission of providing emergency prehospital care,” Nigro added.
The drug will be made available to surviving overdose patients in a 4 milligram intranasal spray, which is considered two doses. The kit also includes rubber gloves, a face shield and alcohol wipes. Information on how to recognize an overdose, what to do next and how to administer naloxone, as well as literature on overdose risks and rehabilitation resources, will also be provided.
While paramedics in the city have been carrying naloxone for more than 40 years, it wasn’t until 2014 that the state Department of Health outlined specific protocols for FDNY EMS members and firefighters to carry and administer intranasal naloxone, according to the FDNY.