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Fargo, West Fargo Fire Departments take part in Narcan Leave Behind program

Naloxone nasal spray, also known as Narcan, is used by emergency squads in Boston about three times a night to revive people who have overdosed while using heroin or opioid painkillers.
Jesse Costa/WBUR
Naloxone nasal spray, also known as Narcan, is used by emergency squads in Boston about three times a night to revive people who have overdosed while using heroin or opioid painkillers.

The program is funded by the state to combat overdose deaths from opioids.

Fire departments in Fargo and West Fargo are participating in the Narcan Leave Behind Program.

Nalaxone, also known as Narcan, is a nasal spray that is administered in the event of an opioid overdose. Kendall Frost is Deputy Chief of Operations at the West Fargo Fire Department. He says the program is funded by the State of North Dakota through the Department of Health. He says about six weeks ago, the department was approached by the Health Department about taking part in the program for free. He says it allows first responders to leave Narcan behind when leaving a call.

"If we go out to a scene and we have an opioid overdose, and there's people available and they want a box, we leave a box no questions asked. The only data we report is how many boxes we are handing out for the grant. And that's free. If they don't want it, they can contact the department directly, come in and pick up a box - no questions asked."

Frost says free training in how to administer Narcan is also available through the fire department.

Opioid overdoses have increased in Cass County by 108 percent in the last four years. Frost says this program will allow them to save lives.

"This is big for our department because when people call 911 for emergency services to come out, we have Narcan, we carry that on our EMS bags. So we do apply that at the time on the scene. But with anything, if they are going into cardiac arrest or something like that, the sooner this Narcan can be applied to reverse the effects of the opioid overdose, that will bring them around so we can save them. If we can't get to them soon enough, the alternate part of that is they're going to die."

Frost says by pushing the program locally, it will increase the amount of people who know how to administer Narcan.