By Andy Santoro
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – “It is something that happens almost on a daily basis that we respond to someone with a drug overdose where we have to administer Narcan,” says Chattanooga Fire Department Fire Chief Phil Hyman.
While the Chattanooga Police Department just reported ten overdose deaths in a two week period, it’s the same story across the country as the overdose epidemic worsens and fentanyl becomes more prevalent.
“Because of the toxicity of fentanyl and how potent that is, that seems to be a prevalent drug that is in our community right now that is really impacting these overdoses and has been for quite some time,” says Hyman.
Narcan can reverse the effects of a drug overdose almost immediately. The American Medical Association says Narcan has saved tens of thousands of lives so they are pushing the Biden Administration to make the drug available without prescription to the public.
“Without Narcan, that life is lost and there’s no possibility for that person to want to change or get better. So that’s why this medication is so important to get out to the community and to be as affordable and accessible as possible because it truly saves lives,” says John Mitchell with the Hamilton County Coalition.
Locally, Narcan is available for free through the Hamilton County Coalition. But those interested must take a virtual training course first, available through their website. The Hamilton County Coalition also trains first responders to administer Narcan.
“We have had the same person more than once. That does happen and sometimes they OD so bad, we have to give them more than one dose,” says Hyman.
Their goal is to have all first responders, including law enforcement, trained in administering Narcan in the next two years.