|SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County Fire Department emergency first responders are now able to leave behind a life-saving medicine when responding to patients who have experienced an opioid overdose. |
With the Sarasota County Department of Health and Human Services, SCFD has joined the Florida Department of Health’s Helping Emergency Responders Obtain Support (HEROS) Program. The partnership allows SCFD to provide free naloxone through the HEROS program grant funding when responding to and treating patients for possible opioid drug overdose. In 2022, SCFD responded to 844 drug overdoses and administered 1,087 doses of Naloxone.
“This is another opportunity to help save lives and potentially prevent a fatal overdose in our community,” SCFD Medical Director Dr. Marshall Frank. “Our firefighter/EMTs and firefighter/Paramedics are doing everything they can when they arrive on the scene, and now we’re able to provide the community tools to help those experiencing an overdose until EMS arrives.”
Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, restoring breathing within two to three minutes in a person whose breathing has slowed, or even stopped. Opioid abuse is seen with medications such as heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine.
SCFD crews who respond to a suspected opioid-related overdose call will be able to leave-behind intranasal naloxone to a responsible party along with instructions on how and when to use it. The intranasal route is designed for ease of use as it is needle-free, requires no assembly, and does not require specialized training to administer.
Additionally, a community resource pamphlet outlining a list of local and national counseling and mental health resources will be left with the naloxone.
For more information on the HEROS program, please contact the Florida Department of Health or visit this website.
More information on Sarasota County Fire Department is also available at scgov.net/fire or by calling 311.