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Narcan a critical tool for first responders with increase in overdoses

(WSET)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- First responders in Lynchburg and Danville have seen the uptick in opioid abuse first hand, but say they're equipped with the right life-saving tools.

Lynchburg firefighters have a lot of work on their hands beyond putting out fires.

They're rushing day-to-day responding to medical emergencies, and saving many lives with Narcan.

Fire department administrators say they've used it for 25-years on patients if they're unable to determine why someone is unconscious.

They say they've seen an increase in opioid overdoses over the last few years.

The epidemic has made Narcan an even bigger life-saving tool for first responders.

"Anytime you can save somebody's life and make an impact on their health and well-being, it's really a treasure, and we really appreciate the fact that we have this kind of drug that's available to us that we can administer to patients in their time of need," said Fire Chief Greg Wormser.

Fire Chief Wormser says they've saved several lives just this year after people nearly overdosed on opioids.

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The patient can regain consciousness in roughly 30 seconds with Narcan.

First responders in Danville are faced with a similar situation.

Danville Life Saving Crew Chief Robbie Woodall says they've been using a lot of Narcan because the volume of opioid overdoses in the city has risen drastically.

It comes in two forms: one that can be administered intranasally or one that goes into a person's veins.

Woodall says the Danville Life Saving Crew has been working diligently to train all their EMT's on how to use it.

"We've seen a significant increase in the last year," Woodall said. "We've had 52 overdoses year to date in 2018, where typically years past we may 8 or 10 or 12."

Despite all the training, Woodall says the problem will only get worse unless people learn how to seek help.

If you or anybody else is dealing with opioid addiction and need help, you can reach out to Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services at 434-793-4922.

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