Fire chiefs press for resources to fight heroin overdoses
They want greater funding for addiction treatment and want to supply firefighters with Narcan
BOSTON — Fire chiefs from across the region made an urgent, at times personal, appeal to the nation's drug czar Monday to support their fight against the opioid epidemic, calling for greater funding for addiction treatment and supplying firefighters with Narcan, a drug that reverses heroin overdoses.
In a morning round-table meeting, the chiefs told Michael Botticelli, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, that the scope of the crisis demanded immediate action. Some described firsthand accounts of reviving overdose victims with Narcan, and growing efforts to steer addicts toward treatment.
"It's an epidemic that has no boundaries," said Keith Stark, fire chief in Weymouth, at Boston Fire Department headquarters. Ten people have died from opioid overdoses this year in Weymouth, and firefighters there have saved well over 100 people from overdoses since they began carrying Narcan two years ago, part of a growing number of departments that now use the powerful drug.