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Vancouver Fire Department has distributed 25 Narcan kits since May 1

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(The Center Square) – Amid a homeless and opioid crisis, the City of Vancouver revealed initial results of a new program that provides overdose treatment kits.

According to the city, the Vancouver Fire Department has left behind Narcan kits on 25 occasions since May 1 when the program started.

Narcan is a brand name of a naloxone delivery device, which is a medication that rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose. Naloxone is the standard treatment for an opioid overdose.

Each Narcan kit that EMS responders leave behind contains two small nasal spray devices.

VFD EMS Division Chief Robb Milano said the number of emergency medical calls the department has responded to in recent years “is skyrocketing with the current opioid crisis.” According to Milano, the department administered Narcan 342 times in 2022. Last year, VFD administered Narcan 583 times, a 70% increase from 2022.

“Providing this easy-to-use and reliable kit to those at risk of repeat overdose will undoubtedly help us save more lives,” Milano said.

The city does not fund this new program. The Washington state Department of Health instead covers the program costs and provides the city one-for-one replacement of Narcan kits on an ongoing basis.

The state’s continuing replacement of Narcan kits to Vancouver is supported by a $90.7 million resolution Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made with Teva Pharmaceuticals. As part of the resolution, Teva is sending the 54,120 kits to Washington in quarterly shipments over the next two years

Overdose deaths among the homeless population was a key factor in the Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes’ state of emergency regarding homelessness that was declared in November 2023.

According to the latest Vancouver homelessness report, which will be presented to the city council on Monday night, 20 homeless people have died within city limits since December 2023. Out of the 20 deaths, 12 were due to drug overdose.

Through April, the VFD responded to 696 medical/EMS calls related to homelessness in 2024.

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