Wilmington, DE – An innovative New Castle County partnership to supply Narcan at no cost to local volunteer fire companies provided 760 doses of this lifesaving drug to first responders during the past 12 months, New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer announced today.
“Heroin and opiate addiction is the public health crisis of our time, and first responders are at the front lines of this fight,” said County Executive Matthew Meyer. “Our collaboration with County Council, Greenhill Pharmacy and atTAcK Addiction has provided fire companies with 760 doses of Narcan to give those who struggle with addiction a second chance at life. I’m proud that this partnership has helped save literally hundreds of lives across New Castle County. Those successful responses are a critical first step alongside new statewide efforts to move patients toward treatment and long-term recovery.”
Fire companies are often the first to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency, and have responded to the opioid and heroin epidemic by training their members to administer Narcan to patients. Until last year, fire companies purchased Narcan with their own funds at costs that approached $100 per dose. After fire company chiefs reported the financial burden of purchasing sufficient amounts of Narcan to meet the rapidly growing need, the Meyer Administration initiated a collaboration with County Council members and Wilmington’s Greenhill pharmacy to purchase the medicine on their behalf. Jay Patel, founder and owner of Greenhill Pharmacy, offered to provide Narcan at a fraction of the retail price and contributed $3,000 towards the purchase of 600 doses. Meyer offered $9,600 from the County Executive’s grant fund, and County Council provided $9,100, with each of its thirteen members contributing $700 to meet the funding need.
“New Castle County Council has been proud to be a part of this partnership to ensure that the dedicated members of our fire service have the tools they need when responding to overdose incidents,” said New Castle County Council Member Bill Bell, longtime member of the New Castle County fire service and co-chair of Council’s Public Safety Committee. “This initiative demonstrates that we are all committed to support those men and women who work around the clock to save lives.”
Over the past 12 months, 20 volunteer fire companies across New Castle County have acquired Narcan through this county program. When the original supply of 600 doses was depleted, Greenhill Pharmacy contributed an additional 100 doses and atTAcK Addiction provided 100 additional doses through grant funding it received from Highmark. To-date, 760 doses of the 800 doses supplied through the program have been claimed by fire companies.
“The rapid expansion of programs to put Narcan in the hands of first responders and everyday residents is critical to the nationwide effort to prevent overdose deaths,” said Jay Patel, founder and owner of Greenhill Pharmacy. “We have been pleased to participate in this lifesaving program that has had a local impact on this growing public health epidemic.”
Beginning this month, the Delaware Division of Public Health’s Naloxone Administration Program, operated through their Office of Emergency Medical Services, will be able to provide naloxone to all first responder agencies, thanks to a recent federal grant award announced today, and the receipt of first-time dedicated state funds.
“We sincerely appreciate New Castle County’s commitment and dedication to getting this life-saving medication into the hands of first responders,” said Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “There is a greater need than ever before for naloxone to reverse the effects of drug overdoses that are occurring daily in our state. They can be proud of the role they have played in giving people struggling with addiction a chance to survive an overdose, and get connected to the treatment they so desperately need.”
Dr. Rattay continues to encourage individuals to visit www.helpisherede.com to learn more about addiction prevention, recognition and treatment, and the availability of naloxone training in the community.