Ocala Fire Rescue fights opiod epidemic with new Narcan program

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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB)-- On the heels of an amnesty program for people who turn in hard drugs to the police, the city of Ocala is trying another unique program to help users.

Ocala has become the latest city to distribute free Narcan-- the life-saving antidote to overdosing from opioids.

In an attempt to address the opioid epidemic, the city of Ocala is arming first responders with the life-saving drug Narcan.

To try to prevent further deaths from opioids, Ocala Fire Rescue has created the 'Opiate Tragedy Prevention Program.'

Part of this program is stocking up, and leaving the life-saving drug behind.

"If you call 911, for somebody who has overdosed then we come out there and we will both administer Narcan to the person to save their life and any person who is on the scene and is capable of using the Narcan we train them and leave them doses of Narcan,” said Capt. Jesse Blaire with Ocala Fire Rescue.

And even though the program is only a few months old, they're already noticing a difference.

"We've had several occasions where the person who 911 has been called for, so the person who has overdosed is already awake and alert because people on the scene have used the Narcan that we trained them to use and left behind for them to use,” he added.

And to help keep those in need of the Narcan accountable, the program is comprised of several steps, including a follow-up visit.

"We have a community paramedic program where we will continue to follow up with that person and connect them with community resources for detoxification and rehabilitation,” Blaire said.

The program is currently being funded through several grants.

Residents can request a home visit for paramedics to deliver Narcan and offer access to community programs.

They can do so on OFR's website however if residents find themselves in an emergency situation, it's always advised to call 911.

Learn more and request a check-up: https://www.ocalafl.org/government/city-departments-a-h/fire-rescue/community-outreach/narcan-leave-behind-program