New Program Expands Distribution of Narcan and Recovery Resources
A DCHS CONNECT NEWS HIGHLIGHT
May 7, 2021--The Opioid Work Group announces the launch of an Opioid Overdose Recovery Bag Program in partnership with paramedics in the Alexandria Fire Department. Through the initiative, every paramedic unit is now equipped with backpacks containing Narcan, a nasal-spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, along with recovery and treatment information for overdose victims and their loved ones.
Opioid and drug overdose deaths have risen dramatically in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner 4th Quarter 2020 Fatal Drug Overdose Quarterly Report, fatal drug overdoses have been record-breaking throughout the pandemic, with a preliminary increase of 41.2% in state-wide overdose deaths in 2020 compared to 2019. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, caused or contributed to death in 72.1% of the cases. The preliminary total of fatal overdoses in 2020 is 2,297, up from the final total of 1,627 in 2019; the 2020 data is preliminary and subject to change as approximately 75 cases from 2020 remain open are yet to be classified.
“This new program allows the AFD Emergency Medical Services to distribute Narcan into the community where it is most needed,” says Opioid Response Coordinator Emily Bentley. “This program is only possible because of the openness and willingness of our first responders to help tackle an issue that impacts individuals all over the city.”
Alexandria residents can also help save lives by having Narcan mailed to them for free by emailing their name and mailing address to email@example.com or obtaining it by appointment at the Alexandria Health Department by calling 703.746.4888. Narcan is also available without a prescription at all pharmacies.
For more information about opioids, treatment services and resources, or the Opioid Work Group, visit alexandriava.gov/Opioids.