Nashville Fire Department used record amount of opioid-overdose drug naloxone in 2019

Posted at 3:45 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 16:45:39-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville Fire Department said it used a record-breaking amount of naloxone for patients who showed signs of an overdose in 2019. Naloxone, commonly known by the generic brand Narcan, is an opioid-overdose antidote often carried by first responders.

Last year, the fire department treated 2,260 patients with naloxone, a 28 percent increase compared to 2018 and a 528 percent increase compared to 2011. NFD began tracking the number of patients who showed signs of overdose and were treated with naloxone in 2011.

"It is clear the opioid epidemic is impacting the residents and visitors to Davidson County,” Director Chief William Swann said. "With the exception of 2013 we have seen a steady increase in the number of patients we treat with Naloxone. Between 2017 and 2018 we saw a 93 percent increase."

The fire department said the number of naloxone doses administered to patients is greater because it could take more than one dose to reverse the effects of opioids on a patient.

"We are working closely with our community partners including the Metro Nashville Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Health to find ways to turn around this troubling trend," Swann said.

The number of patients who showed signs of overdose and were treated with the drug by the fire department are reported to the Metro Nashville Police Department and the Tennessee Department of Health.