Memphis first responders received a life-saving donation, which will save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. First Pharmacy Services donated nearly 7,000 doses of Narcan to the Memphis Police and Fire Departments.
Narcan reverses the effects of opioid overdoses. The Memphis Fire Department administered 2,500 doses of Narcan last year to 2,200 people who overdosed.
The opioid crisis is now the third leading cause of deaths in Tennessee.
“It’s our duty to help somebody. I would do anything to help save somebody’s life,” said Dr. Denise Pratt with First Pharmacy Services.
Dr. Pratt is practicing what she preaches. Pratt received 6,900 doses of the life-saving drug Narcan Nasal Spray through a $400,000 grant from Cardinal Health. Pratt donated the Narcan to the City of Memphis Fire and Police Departments to help in their efforts to respond to opioid overdoses.
“Only a small amount of police officers were carrying Narcan. And this grant will help all of our officers carry Narcan,” said Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings.
During a news conference at the Memphis Fire Museum, police and fire officials talked about statistics surrounding opioid-related deaths in Memphis.
Since 2013, 309 people have died after overdosing. However, there’s been an 8% reduction in administering Narcan this year compared to last year.
“So far this year, 19 deaths. We’ve seen a 65% decrease. I mean that’s a dramatic decrease,” said Rallings.
“Although that is a trend in the right direction, that is nowhere close to where we need to be,” said Memphis Fire Deputy Chief EMS Pam Keistler.
Officials say education and prevention are key in fighting opioid addiction. It all starts with community involvement and people like Dr. Pratt who are willing to help end the epidemic.
“For those who don’t know it, this saves lives,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
According to first responders, Memphis was spending $300,000 a year on Narcan. So, this donation will save taxpayer dollars in addition to saving lives.