Nashville FD Wants To Combat Opioid Epidemic; Seeks More Money

Posted at 10:51 PM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-24 00:43:13-04

Local emergency crews have been feeling the financial strain of the opioid epidemic since the cost for Narcan, an overdose-reversal drug, has nearly tripled since 2009.

Back then, Narcan cost the Nashville Fire Department almost $12 a dose.

Greg Fuller, a former opioid user, said you can't put a cost on saving a life is hoping the city's emergency personnel get more funds for medical services.

Fuller recently began working at American Addiction Centers. 

He knows Narcan can help save lives. It saved his three different times.

Fuller said many factors go into why people abuse opioids and an increase in a Narcan supply is necessary as the first step to possibly break the overdosing trend.

"Getting people treatment that's the biggest way to reduce it. Having somewhere to take them, something to do with them once you have used Narcan," he said. 

He understands why people may be hesitant to support the fire department's request.

"Most people look at a drug addict as a junkie. They don't want their taxpayer dollars to go to save that person but addiction hits so close to home. They may wake up and one year, that might be their 18-year-old daughter getting pulled out of the car," he said.

Two years sober with a job and better relationship with his family, Fuller said he wants others to have a fighting chance even if it starts in the hands of others.

During a Metro budget hearing, Fire director Chief Will Swann asked Mayor David Briley for $1.5 million to go towards medical supplies

"I know money is tight but the demand for quality service continues to grow every day," Swann said.

In 2017, 920 patients in Metro Nashville were administered Narcan -- sometimes, more than once.

Already in 2018, 275 people have been treated by the Nashville Fire Department.