Heroin problem in Jacksonville putting strain on fire department's funds

Heroine overdoses impacting first responders

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The heroin problem in Jacksonville is affecting the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department’s budget because they are having to use so much Narcan. Narcan is a life saving drug used to revive overdose patients.

“They are doing it so many time a day that it is becoming second nature for them to respond to it,” said Randy Wyse with the fire department.

The heroin problem in Jacksonville has been a growing issue.

“Its really become taxing on the resources that we have,” Wyse said. Last year, the fire department responded to nearly 3,500 overdoses. The year before it was only 2,000.

The issue is putting a strain on their  budget because they are using so much Narcan. “All of our units are life support units so those drugs are in every one of our trucks," Wyse said.

For seven  month supply of Narcan it costs JFRD nearly $80,000. Resupply costs $15,000 a month.

But help could be on the way. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is working with multiple drug companies to give discounts for first responders to purchase the drug.

“Obviously it helps the budget but it really shows the crisis that we are in," he said.

The heroin issue is affecting all walks of life. The fire department spent $3 million in transporting overdose patients last year.

But Wyse said having the drug in every unit saving hundreds of lives. “That drug once you give it immediately counteracts the opioid affects and immediately they are coming around,” he said. 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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