New Castle County volunteer firefighters armed with Narcan
New Castle County is making a medication more readily available to first responders to help them combat overdose deaths.
The county and Wilmington’s Greenhill Pharmacy have armed 21 volunteer fire companies with 10 boxes of Narcan — more than a year’s supply.
County Executive Matt Meyer and the county put up over $18,000 from their contingency funds to pay for the drug, which can reverse the effects of overdoses. Greenhill Pharmacy donated $3,000 and helped purchase the Narcan below retail cost.
Before, most fire companies didn’t have the funds to buy it themselves, or could barely afford it, said New Castle County Volunteer Firefighters Association President Keith Bowman.
“We were paying about $45 for a double dose of narcan and that was becoming very expensive,” Bowman said.
It’s a big step forward for the county’s volunteer fire companies. Last year, they administered 350 narcan doses. Bowman recalled a situation where an individual was lying face down on the grass after overdosing. Emergency crews gave him Narcan and he lived.
“It gives me personally a good feeling when you save someone’s life,” he said.
But there’s still more that needs to be done, said Mark Willis, the president of the New Castle County Volunteer Fire Chiefs Association.
“The no. 1 solution is awareness and getting the people the help they need, because we do see repeat patients. Sometimes we see patients three-four-five times a month,” Willis said.
In addition to awareness, education and counseling should also be a big focus, Willis said.
“What we hope is when somebody goes to the hospital, the ER doctors and nurses will be counseling them on trying to find help,” he said.
Delaware has had 159 suspected overdose deaths so far this year.