The Tacoma Fire Department is handing out free medication to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose to patients.

Under the pilot program, fire department paramedics who treat an opioid patient for an overdose would offer that person a free kit containing the nasal spray Narcan to be used later.

Tacoma Fire Chief Jim Duggan says paramedics are well-positioned to give patients information at a time they may be most receptive to entering a recovery program.

The kits include information about recovery programs in the city.

The department says it has seen a 50 percent increase in the administration of Narcan by paramedics since 2013.