The Jacksonville Fire Department believes fentanyl-infused street drugs are causing the surge.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department says drug overdose calls and the use of naloxone, which is used to reverse the effects of a drug overdose, have increased steadily over the past five years and are increasing shows no signs of slowing down.
In the past, JFRD had almost never seen a drug overdose, but now it is usually a daily occurrence and multiples.
“We have a crew who went to the same person three times in an hour and a half for an overdose,” said Eric Prosswimmer.
JFRD spokesman Eric Prosswimmer says overdose calls and the use of naloxone, also known under the brand name Narcan, increased by about 20 percent from 2019 to 2020. The department received more than 5,000 calls over the past year.
“They will continue to rise in 2021,” said Prosswimmer.
Prosswimmer speculates that one thing is the rise.
“The increase we know is due to fentanyl,” said Prosswimmer.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than heroin.
“I’ve talked to people we brought back to life and they said, ‘Look, I’ve done the same thing as always, and it’s never affected me like that.’ Well, the amount they used never contained the fentanyl, ”Prosswimmer said.
JFRD administered more than 5,100 doses of Narcan in 2020.
“We had a point where our Narcan usage for the year was higher than our budget for all of our drugs for the entire year,” Prosswimmer said.
JFRD Assistant Chief Mark Rowley oversees the department’s Narcan program.
“It only takes a few seconds to save a life and a few seconds to save a life, and that gets that patient time,” Rowley said.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reports that many drugs bought on the street have fentanyl added to them. JSO charged Mark Singletary this week with manslaughter related to the death of one of its clients.
“Because of his addicting nature, drug dealer or whoever, they have people coming back. They have regular customers, “said Prosswimmer.” The problem is that they then kill some of those regular customers. “
David Chapman, the spokesman for the Duval County District Attorney, sent First Coast News the following statement:
“We will continue to bring manslaughter or murder charges against fatal overdose drug dealers when the facts of the case and the law permit. Criminal justice laws treat these cases against drug dealers with such seriousness because of the value of human life and the implications for public health and safety, ”said Chapman.
JFRD typically receives a $ 60,000 government grant each year to pay for Narcan.
“You take it out of the full package, tilt your head back, inject it up your nose, and in about two minutes you will start breathing and waking up,” Rowley said.
The department also offers free narcan kits for Duval County residents and training. For more information, contact Laura Viafora Ray of JFRD’s Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Project at (904) 255-7730 or LVRay@coj.net.
. @THEJFRD reports #drug overdose calls, #Narcan doses administered continue to rise in Duval County in 2021. The spokesman believes #fentanyl-spiked street drugs are the cause. @ FCN2go pic.twitter.com/Vx8CbDGX0j
– Dawn White (@DawnWhiteNews) June 16, 2021