BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) As opioid overdose issues continue throughout the country, Virginia is equipping rescue squads with medicine to help. A grant to provide Narcan has been made available to all squads in the Commonwealth.
According to the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad Chief, Montgomery County does not have the opioid crisis other surrounding areas in the Commonwealth have.
But just because there's only two calls for overdose per month doesn't mean they don't want to be prepared.
Chief David English said, “Luckily we haven't seen a big problem with that yet, and we hope we never do but we want to be ready just in case.”
Blacksburg was given 24 doses of nasal Narcan, so there will be four on each truck.
Chief English said pretty much every squad eligible that applies will receive the Narcan grant, and it's open until the end of this month.
Kenzie Williams is an EMT Basic at the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad.
She said, “I think it really shows that the Commonwealth really cares about their community and their people. Even though these overdose calls might not happen and we might not be using the Narcan as frequently, if that incident comes up, we would be able to be ready and provide good care to these people.”
There's also a great advantage to the nasal Narcan. It will be quicker to administer since less than half the squad can use Narcan that requires being injected
Williams explained, “It's a lot easier to use and you don't have to go through all the training on how to start IVs and if there is a call for a narcotic overdose, you don't have to wait for an ALS provider to get there and start an IV, you can just go ahead and start providing care to the patient.”
English added, “The nasal Narcan is just as fast. We give that and within a matter of minutes the person is typically awake.”
The Chief said while he hopes drug problems never come to the area, these can also come in handy if a crisis breaks out. That's because having 24 extra doses, at $37.50 each, can be lifesaving on some calls.
“Some patients may need more than one dose, especially if they got exposed to a large amount of opioids, so now we have those multiple doses on each truck,” he said.
The Chief also said one instance they are now ready for is helping law enforcement if officers are exposed. A scenario can happen where police enter a home and some narcotic is in the air, spreading to officers. Thanks to this grant which is still available, situations like that can be handled much quicker and more efficiently.