Firefighters In Phoenix Say They’re Running Out Of Narcan For Overdose, Poisoning Calls

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Firefighters in Phoenix, Arizona, reported a record-breaking increase in calls for opioid and fentanyl overdoses and poisonings in 2022, leading to a shortage in Narcan, according to 12News.

Narcan (Naloxone) is the primary medication used to revive those either poisoned with or overdosed on fentanyl and other opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

“You can be on a truck on one day and respond to three or four different fentanyl overdoses,” Bryan Willingham, the president of the United Phoenix Firefighters Association, told 12News.

In 2021, there were 2,000 fentanyl and other opioid-related deaths in Arizona, the outlet noted. The Association has predicted upwards of 7,000 calls for such incidents in Phoenix alone in 2022.

“There is no pattern, that’s the problem with it,” Willingham continued. He said the calls come from all over the Phoenix area, and on many of those calls, there are multiple people experiencing symptoms of overdose, according to the 12News.

“We could have three, four, five people, literally all of them unconscious,” Willingham told the outlet. “It becomes a very, very stressful critical incident for everybody there.”

Due to the potency of fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin, Willingham reportedly said multiple doses of Narcan are often required to revive victims and addicts. He added there have been instances where crews have exhausted their supply of Narcan on a call and had to call for backup, 12News continued.

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Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid primarily manufactured in China, which is then shipped to the U.S. by way of Mexico and the open southern border. A majority of people who purchase fentanyl have no idea they’re buying the poisonous drug, as it is packed into other illicit and legal substances, such as heroin, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.