Tacoma Fire to hand out free opioid rescue kits

The department hopes the kits will start the conversation about treatment and recovery

Tacoma Fire will begin distributing free opioid rescue kits that include opioid overdose medication and information about recovery programs.

“We want to move beyond simply treating opioid overdoses to treating the underlying addiction,” Tacoma Fire Chief Jim Duggan said in a statement.

Since 2013, Tacoma Fire has seen a 50 percent increase in the administration of Narcan for opioid-related incidents, according to the department.

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After administering emergency treatment to an opioid patient, Tacoma Fire paramedics would give the patient or their companion a rescue kit, which includes Narcan Nasal Spray, a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The fire department said it realizes giving out kits for later use may not be the final solution, but it’s a starting point.

“It serves as a mechanism to begin the conversation of access to care, treatment, and recovery,” said Tacoma firefighter and paramedic Kurt Gordon, who is coordinating the pilot program.