Binghamton Firefighters Have Used Narcan To Save 7 From Heroin Overdoses

06.06.14 | Sarah Harnisch

City firefighters saved seven people from heroin overdoses within the past two months due to the heroin antidote Narcan, officials said.

Narcan, which can be used via nasal spray or injection, is a medication that helps restore normal breathing and reverses symptoms in opioid overdoses such as with heroin. The medication is meant to provide short-term relief while a person is being transported to an emergency room.

The city fire department’s most recent Narcan save was on Saturday, according to Mayor Rich David’s office. Firefighters responded to a location in the First Ward to assist a male overdose patient.

Firefighters found the patient unresponsive and not breathing, used the Narcan nasal spray and transported him to Binghamton General Hospital, where he is expected to fully recover, officials said.

On April 2, Binghamton firefighters responded to a call on Fayette Street for a middle-aged man found lifeless and not breathing, officials said. Within two minutes after Narcan was used, his heart rate and blood pressure returned to normal.

In recent months, local police agencies have also begun carrying Narcan to help combat what authorities have called an epidemic of heroin both statewide and across the country.

Since April 1, all Binghamton fire vehicles have carried a Narcan kit. Binghamton police have also been carrying 25 Narcan kits since early May.

Thirty-one Broome County residents died last year due to use of opioids including heroin, according to the sheriff’s office, which began carrying Narcan in late February.

Johnson City firefighters also recently announced the department will begin carrying Narcan.

The village fire department averages an arrival time of three minutes from the time of a 911 dispatch, officials said, and the department’s trained first responders are on duty day and night.

“Prompt, and effective delivery of emergency care combined with early administration of Narcan have proven to be crucial links to survival,” Bob Blakeslee, president of the Johnson City Firefighters Association, said in a statement.